Polio is a disease that has virtually been forgotten by our community. Although vaccination implemented in Australia in the late 1950s has prevented new infections, polio survivors form the largest single physical disability group in the country.
A great many of these survivors are now experiencing the debilitating late effects of polio.
In fact, between the 1930’s and 1960’s there were 40,000 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis recorded in Australia but the total number of polio infection cases are up to 100 times greater.1
Recognising this need, GSK has provided support for many years to Polio Australia, an organisation that provides polio information and awareness across Australia for polio survivors.
As well as providing patient support, Polio Australia seeks to provide information, education and training to health-care professionals to improve the diagnosis and management of the late effects of polio.
GSK has supported Polio Australia’s annual patient retreat for a number of years. From 2011-2015 GSK provided Polio Australia with $66,000 to assist with running the retreat and the development of awareness materials. This retreat is very important to polio survivors as it provides a forum for discussing a holistic approach to managing the late effects of polio and finding life balance.
Dr John Tierney, President of Polio Australia, has welcomed the continuous support stating that “GSK’s grants and assistance have been very helpful and have gone a long way in ensuring that we are able to organise our annual retreat for those living with the late effects of polio. The retreat supports polio survivors to maintain independence and make informed life choices.”
At a global level, GSK continues to support the WHO objective of eradicating polio by 2018 by providing vaccines to UNICEF until this is achieved. In 2015, we delivered 220 million doses of the oral polio vaccine and since 1988, we have contributed over 16 billion doses.