Polio no longer exists in developed countries, thanks to the global eradication drive by the WHO. It does, however, exist in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.
While there are measures still being taken to eradicate it, the population, the lack of infrastructure and resources is hindering the progress. There is also the logistics of ensuring the vaccines are transported, administered and followed up in a timely manner.
Countries like India have taken up the initiative in an efficient manner and ensured that all children under the age of 5 are mandatorily administered oral polio for free. There are various centers set up across every city, district and town with volunteers going door to door to ensure no child under the age of 5 misses out on polio drops. There are also vaccines provided for the same. Government hospitals offer these for free for those who cannot afford to pay for the vaccine and private clinics and hospitals offer painless ones for a fee to those who can afford it.
Both the vaccine and the drops have ensured that India has been polio free for 5 years. The government continues the efforts because it is important that polio is completely eliminated. Since it is a contagious disease, one case is all it takes for the virus to spread.
As of now, 80 percent of the world is free from Polio. The effort is to get to a hundred percent. As of now only Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan have constant reports of polio cases.
What is important to remember is that those who have recovered from polio in their childhood can still be at risk of post polio syndrome, this can affect them even 40 years after they recover. That’s one more reason this virus is dangerous.
What it also means is that anyone who has recovered and is now living in, say, Europe or America could be affected. It’s necessary that he/she keeps the health care providers notified about the polio history and take adequate preventive measures. For one thing, traveling to any country where polio is still active would be lethal.
Secondly, it’s important to ensure the muscles stay supple and strong. A healthy lifestyle, balanced nutrition, exercise and adequate sleep are key to retaining optimum fitness. A fit person is less likely to be susceptible. There are any number of products available that aid this process. For example, products from Zona Bellezza offer a range of selections for health that tick all the right fitness boxes.
It’s important to remember that staying fit and active and ensuring timely checkups are a good way to keep all viruses at bay. Polio, is, of course, a far-fetched problem in the developed world. But when you talk about any contagious virus, it is better to be cautious. Keep track of all symptoms and for kids always ensure polio vaccines are given at the right time, especially if you are traveling to a country where this virus is still active. Polio does affect children more than adults and kids under the age of 5 are particularly vulnerable to it.
PSA is a Rotarian Action Group dedicated to the humanitarian assistance of polio survivors. PSA is a logical extension of Rotary’ concern for the health needs of the world and acting as the living legacy of the worldwide PolioPlus program to eradicate polio. This Action Group operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not controlled by Rotary.
PSA was founded in 2003 as a Rotarian Fellowship whose members were individuals and groups with a common interest in polio survivors; health issues such as postpolio syndrome; polio support groups; related organizations and institutions. In 2005, the Rotary International Board of Directors recognized the value of these Fellowships and their potential for assisting RI in implementing humanitarian programs throughout the world, and formed Rotarian Action Groups.
PSA PROGRAMS AND OBJECTIVES
Gather and disseminate information contributing to the health of polio survivors.
Create a Rotarian link and action group of individuals with organizations and
institutions already providing assistance to polio survivors
Promote and encourage Rotary club, district and international projects which help
people with polio-related health problems, both recent and long-term
Participate, as appropriate, in related health and humanitarian projectsPolio is not a disease that is found in developed countries. For that reason alone, it no longer generates too much discussion or debate. Polio is mostly an infliction that ails underdeveloped countries with a few developing countries still bearing the brunt of it.
While countries like India have taken on the battle head on to eradicate polio completely, there are underdeveloped countries that simply don’t have the funds to devote to this exercise. Nor do they have the manpower, resources or infrastructure to take on the challenge of polio eradication
What is polio
Polio or poliomyelitis is an extremely contagious disease attacks your central nervous system. It’s caused by a virus and kids are more commonly infected with this with kids under 5 being particularly susceptible.
Polio, however, is a disease that is easily preventable with a vaccine. The WHO had taken on a polio global eradication drive in 1988 (about 30 years after the vaccine was developed). Since the drive started, several regions of the world are polio free. This includes Europe, Southeast Asia, Europe and countries in the western Pacific. The regions where polio is still a problem include Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
Polio can be of two types – paralytic polio and non paralytic polio. Non paralytic polio is also referred to as abortive polio. The symptoms for this is much like other viral infections – sore throat, headache, fatigue, vomiting, and fever.
Paralytic polio tends to cause paralysis of the spine or brainstem and in rare cases both. Even this polio starts with the same symptoms as abortive polio. However, in a week to ten days, there will other more serious symptoms like muscle pain, spasms, reflex loss, floppy or loose limbs, sometimes deformed limbs, the sudden paralysis that could be temporary or permanent.
In about 5 percent of cases, in rare circumstances, the polio virus could affect the muscles that help with breathing and result in death.
What makes polio more dangerous is that it could recur even after you have recovered and the timeline for this is anywhere between 15 and 40 years after you caught it the first time. This is called post polio syndrome.
So, for anyone who has previously recovered from polio, it is important that they stay alert later in life to symptoms like constant fatigue, breathing and swallowing trouble, sleep apnea, memory/concentration troubles, constant muscle pains and muscle atrophy.
If you have had polio as a child and you have since then migrated to a developed country where this is no longer a problem, it is even more critical that you notify the health care providers in that country so they are equally alert and advise you about timely medical intervention.
It is also prudent that you arrange your finances and figure out a way to invest your money in such a manner that should you be affected with the disease you have steady profitable income to sustain you and your family comfortably. Apps like Fincrowd App are handy in such cases.