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Archive
August 2000

Short news items with a Post-Polio element gleaned from 'here, there and everywhere'. Contributions welcomed. Email newsbites@loncps.demon.co.uk. Please make it clear that your news item is for inclusion in NewsBites and include any source references.

18th August 2000
BBCTV Watchdog Healthcheck Program to feature Post-Polio.

A program segment on Post-Polio is scheduled for next Monday's (21st August) BBC TV Watchdog Healthcheck progam broadcast at 7.30 p.m. on BBC 1. The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network have supplied information to the programs researcher although that is the limit of our involvement. Other organisations including the British Polio Fellowship have also been in contact with the programs production team.

Watchdog Healthcheck is transmitted live from Television Centre. Changes to the script are made up to the moment before transmission. According to the Radio Times (http://www.radiotimes.com/) this is the last program in the current series.

Gaby RoslinDr. Mark Porter


The program is presented by Gaby Roslin (far right) and Dr. Mark Porter (right).


 

Additional references:
BBC Online Watchdog Healthcheck
http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/
RealAudio extracts of Radio Times interview with Dr. Mark Porter
http://www.radiotimes.com/rt/
celebs_shows/andrew_duncan/men/markporter/index.html
SurgeryDoor, Healthcare site founded by Dr. Mark Porter
http://www.surgerydoor.co.uk/

Update: The BBC Online Watchdog section no longer contains information on the Healthcheck programs due to the current series being over. However, many of the factsheets from previous Healthcheck programs can be accessed via the BBC Online Consumer Health section. The Post-Polio Syndrome factsheet can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/stories/c_health.shtml

[ Index ]

17th August 2000

Polio Eradication: Polio battles: UN wants to rid world of disease by 2005.

The BBC's Justin Cole reports from the Congo:

RealVideo
http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/
880000/video/_883889_justinecole0100_17aug_vi.ram

Get RealPlayer7 Free!

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

Polio Eradication: India: Cabinet okays Rs 1,118-cr pulse polio plan.

The Deccan Herald News Service (http://www.deccanherald.com/) reported from New Delhi on August 16th:

The Union Cabinet today approved a Rs 1,118.4-crore 'World Bank'-funded project to further strengthen the ongoing Pulse polioimmunisation programme which aims to eliminate the crippling disease.

An official spokesperson said the project would be implemented to supplement the Routine immunisation programme (RCH) during the next three years. The implementation of polio eradication strategy recommended by experts would involve holding of two nationwide rounds in December this year and January next year.

For the first time two sub-national rounds of immunisation campaigns would be carried out in high and mid-endemic states in September and November this year, the spokesperson said. The mop-up operations would be conducted at a cost of Rs 396.18 crore from International Development Assistance credit and donor grants.

The first phase of sub-national round would be carried out in endemic states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Delhi. The second round would involve some more states Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, she said.

The decision would save expenditure incurred in procurement, distribution and administration of oral polio vaccine of approximately Rs 25 crore per annum. Strengthening of routine immunisation programme would contribute to reduction of mortality and morbidity from other vaccine preventible diseases.

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/aug17/two.htm

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

15th August 2000
Polio Eradication: Polio Campaign Reaches Congo's Children.

In the Star Tribune Online (http://www2.startribune.com/) Arnaud Zajtman, Associated Press, reports from Kisangani, Congo:

Health workers trudged through burned out houses and streets destroyed by shelling in a U.N.-led vaccine campaign to eradicate polio, reaching up to 90 percent of Congo's 11 million children under age 5.

The country's two-year civil war caused no major problems for the three-day campaign, which by the time it ended Sunday had reached both government - and rebel-held parts of the vast country, UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy said Monday in Geneva.

But she conceded that parts of Congo remain out of reach for health workers.

"It has become increasingly clear to those of us involved in the campaign to eliminate polio that the major challenge around the world is war," Bellamy said. "The primary obstacle is lack of access to the children."

In a previous round of immunizations last month, a nurse was killed and two aid workers injured in an ambush in the country's east. A third and final round is scheduled for October, bringing the total cost this year to $18 million.

The Congo vaccination rounds are part of a worldwide campaign by U.N. agencies and their partners to eliminate polio by 2005. There are still cases in about 30 countries, and Congo is a top priority with one of the highest rates of polio virus transmission.

Despite the apparent success of the campaign, few residents turned out Sunday to meet Bellamy when she toured the city and visited with health workers going door-to-door to administer the vaccine.

A cluster of people held a sign saying: "We want door-to-door food distribution."

"How dare they distribute vaccines to people who do not have anything to eat?" said Justin Ngoy, 25.

Congolese rebels backed by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda have been fighting the government for two years.

The northern city of Kisangani was battered in June by repeated clashes between Rwandan and Ugandan forces backing rival rebel factions that left more than 600 civilians dead.

The economy has ground to a halt in Kisangani, once a holiday resort town. Food, medication and safe drinking water are all in short supply, contributing to the spread of polio.

Bellamy acknowledged the difficulties, but stressed, "Eradicating polio is as much important as anything else."

Bellamy began her tour Friday in the central government-held town of Mbuji-Mayi, heart of Congo's diamond mining industry and its polio problem.

Thousands of people fleeing ethnic clashes in neighboring Katanga province arrived there in 1995, exacerbating overcrowding and poor sanitation, and setting off a major polio outbreak.

"More than a thousand cases of polio were recorded and we could not do anything," recalled Dr. Honore Lukunku, World Health Organization representative in Mbuji-Mayi. "It was terrible."

Polio is highly infectious. It affects the spinal cord and brain, causing paralysis and sometimes death. It usually affects children under 5.

Nearly 10 million children -- about 90 per cent of the targeted population -- were vaccinated, according to UNICEF figures.

A similar immunization campaign is planned in neighboring Republic of Congo at the end of the month.

The full text of the article can be found at http://www2.startribune.com/
stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=82314660

Also reported:
The Las Vegas Sun : Polio Campaign Reaches Congo's Kids
http://www.lasvegassun.com/
sunbin/stories/w-af/2000/aug/15/081500563.html

and
The Nando Times: U.N. praises polio campaign in Congo
http://www.nandotimes.com/24hour/modbee/healthscience/story/
0,1655,500239457-500351900-502041976-0,00.html

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

13th August 2000
Polio Eradication: Pakistan predicts a polio-free future but not by the end of 2000.

The Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com/) Vol 356 Iss 9229 reported the following:

Despite containing poliovirus transmission for the first time, Pakistan will not be able eradicate poliomyelitis by the end of this year, the deadline set by WHO in 1988 for global eradication of Polio, health officials said last week. "We will hopefully stop the spread of the virus by June next year, but it is almost impossible to eradicate it by [the end of] 2000", Mohammad Azam (National Institute of Health, Islamabad, Pakistan) told The Lancet.

The full text of the article of which the above is an extract can be found at http://www.thelancet.com/hub/pii=S0140-6736(00)02589-7. The full text is included in the limited text issue (pdf format) available to non-subscribers of the hardcopy journal. Access to limited text requires pre-registration but no charge is involved and the registration process is quick, online and takes immediate effect.

[ Index ]

11th August 2000

Polio Survivor in the News: Having grandchildren with disabilities leads 2 women to form one-of-a-kind support group.

M. Scot Skinner writes in the Arizona Daily Star (http://www.azstarnet.com/):

After her grandson was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Bette Mingus called all over Tucson trying to find a support group for grandparents of children with special needs.

She didn't find such a group, so in December, she and another grandmother started their own. Mingus and co-founder Sylvia Verdugo call their new group Grandparents Supporting Grandparents.

"We were both passionate about starting something like this," said Verdugo, 55, whose granddaughter, Alexis, was born with Down syndrome. "This is a one-of-a-kind group."

According to Verdugo, many grandparents cling to denial about the disabilities of their grandchildren. She hopes that the group will help grandparents deal with the fear and uncertainty they often experience.

Equally important, she said, is helping families connect with resources available to them in Southern Arizona.

"Many parents and grandparents don't realize that there are so many programs out there that can provide help," she said.

Grandparents Supporting Grandparents is sponsored by Pilot Parents of Southern Arizona, a nonprofit organization that provides education and support to families of children with special needs.

At the group's most recent meeting Wednesday night, a half-dozen grandmothers gathered around a table and talked about the grandchildren they so obviously cherish.

They also listened to a presentation from Linda Goode of the Tucson office of Easter Seals Arizona. Each meeting includes a speaker who talks to the group about issues related to children with disabilities.

Mingus, who celebrated her 60th birthday last week, said that she gets a lot from "just connecting with other grandparents."

"You walk into that room and you don't have to explain," she said. "It's that common bond."

Mingus, who grew up in Wisconsin, was stricken with polio when she was 12 years old.

"Having had both kinds of polio as a child, I can really understand what my grandson is going through," said Mingus, whose speech and movement is impaired because of post-polio syndrome.

Her first grandson, Carson Bland, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy before his second birthday. Carson, who is 6 now, has trouble controlling his muscles and he communicates mostly through sign language.

About 3,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy each year, and another 500 or so acquire it in the early years of life, according to the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities.

"Cerebral" refers to the brain and "palsy" to a disorder of movement or of posture. It's not communicable, and there is no cure, although therapy and technology can help those with the condition lead productive lives.

"When Carson was diagnosed, I felt totally overwhelmed, frightened, disappointed, angry," Mingus said. "I never went through denial. I found out everything I could."

Mingus, a Tucson resident since 1970, also has a 4-year-old grandson named Cody.

"Cody has picked up a lot of the sign language, which helps him communicate with his brother," she said.

Mingus talked about the challenges of having a disabled grandson ("Four hours with him and I'm exhausted"), but she was more enthusiastic when she talked about her love and appreciation for him.

"I learn so much from Carson," she said. "Patience, for one thing, and he makes me grateful for my health.

"There's a lot of effort involved to get him to learn things, and when he does, it's so great."

The grandparents at the recent meeting said they can relate with most everything Mingus has experienced. They understand the joy that comes from helping their grandchildren achieve tiny victories.

"It's really all about love," Verdugo said. "Unconditional love."

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.azstarnet.com/public/dnews/000811DTmain.html
* Original no longer available at above link *

Notification of the above news item was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

Polio Eradication: India struggles to meet polio deadline.

In an article in the British Medical Journal (http://bmj.com/) Rohit Sharma reports from Mumbai:

Several Indian states have "unacceptably low" rates of immunisation of children against poliomyelitis, and the country's goal of eradicating the disease by the end of the year is still proving elusive. Although many areas have made substantial progress in reducing prevalence, poor performance in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Delhi means that India has around 40% of the world's polio cases.

"There are pockets where almost 86% of children have been missed in the last year for immunisation and may not be protected against polio," said Dr Stephen Atwood, chief of health at Unicef, India. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recently held a workshop in New Delhi to highlight the problem. According to Unicef, the greatest challenge is to maintain an effective "cold chain" for storage of oral polio vaccine.

Several cases have been reported of children contracting polio even after receiving up to a dozen doses of the vaccine. Although health ministry sources deny any problems with the cold chain system, Unicef officials believe that recurrent electricity failures lasting days sometimes are undermining the immunisation effort. "We know there are lapses in the cold chain," said Dr Atwood. Experts attending the New Delhi workshop also cited inadequate staffing, lack of coordination between different working units, and low public awareness of the importance of immunisation as additional adverse factors.

The overall prevalence of polio in India, however, is declining rapidly. In 1999, 7086 cases were reported worldwide, of which 2814 were in India. Up to June 2000, 394 global cases have been reported, of which 70 were in India. The government plans an intensive drive in the autumn to increase the vaccination rate in the underperforming areas. "We are hopeful that at least 28 Indian states possibly all would have interrupted transmission by the end of 2000," said Dr Atwood.

The full text of the article can be found at http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7258/403/a

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

2nd August 2000

Obituary: Leah Welch, advocate for the disabled, dies at 76.

The Star Tribune Online (http://www2.startribune.com/) carried the following Associated Press report from Minneapolis on Tuesday, August 1, 2000:

Leah Welch, who was paralyzed by polio in 1949 and later dedicated herself to making life better for people with disabilities, has died at age 76.

Welch lobbied legislators and members of Congress on behalf of the disabled and was invited to the White House to witness President George Bush sign the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Just last week, she was quoted in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press regarding the 10th anniversary of the ADA.

"It' s a civil rights act for people with disabilities," Welch said.

She died Friday.

"We think of her often as the matriarch in the disability community," said Margo Imdieke Cross, interim executive director of the Minnesota Disability Council. "She was one of the first women with a disability to speak out, to advocate for disability rights. We all depended on her."

Despite being paralyzed from the neck down and spending the last 16 years on a ventilator, Welch was active and spoke frequently to groups about the needs of disabled people.

"She was trying to find dignity for people with disabilities and to help get them out in the mainstream of life," said a daughter, Donna Robb of Lakeville.

The full text of the obituary from which the above is an extract can be found at http://www2.startribune.com/
stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=82233509

See also:
Star Tribune: Remembering a fighter for the rights of the disabled.
Published Monday, August 7, 2000.
http://www2.startribune.com/
stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=82262540

[ Index ]

U.S.A.: Polio Survivor spearheads a program to get unemployed people who are disabled back to work.

Steve Johnston, staff columnist at the Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/) in an article titled "Safety net helps disabled get back on the job" dated Wednesday, August 2, 2000, writes:

There are more than 10 million Americans collecting Social Security checks for disabilities, and out of that number, seven out of 10 do not work. They live at home or in nursing homes, care centers or hospitals. They get a check from Social Security or some kind of insurance, but this money is usually eaten up by the expense of the illness.

Still, over 60 percent of these disabled people want to work. But that has been a challenge.

"Individuals who live on government benefits will live in poverty all their lives," said Susan Daniels, deputy commissioner for Disability and Income Security Programs for Social Security. "We have an enormous number of people . . . who because of their disability will live an entire life below the level that we consider decent for any individual."

Daniels, who had polio and is in a wheelchair herself, is spearheading a program to get unemployed people who are disabled back to work. Called the Ticket to Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, it will let people with disabilities keep their government health benefits even when they return to work in the private sector or purchase low-cost health insurance.

The act will also create training programs, provide benefits to employers who hire the disabled and allow people to go back to their disability government program if the job doesn't work out.

What keeps a lot of people with disabilities out of the work force, Daniels said, is that they are afraid of losing their medical benefits and leaving the government programs once they go to work.

Many small companies don't offer medical benefits, and people with health problems are excluded from health coverage because they have a "pre-existing condition." This program allows people to keep their government health plan for over eight years.

The full text of the article of which the above is an extract can be found at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/
news/lifestyles/html98/gett02_20000802.html

[ Index ]

Post-Polio Awareness Week in Washington State.

The following brief report was inset in the previous Seattle Times article:

Post-Polio Awareness Week. There are almost 18,000 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties who had polio and some are experiencing post-polio syndrome. Gov. Gary Locke has declared this Post-Polio Awareness Week. A picnic will be held Saturday at Mountain View Park in Ellensburg. Information: 800-609-5538.

[ Index ]

U.S.A.: Minnesota: New state epidemiologist is WHO polio expert.

The Star Tribune Online (http://www2.startribune.com/) carried the following news brief:

The Minnesota Health Department has hired a polio expert with the World Health Organization to become the new state epidemiologist.

Dr. Harry Hull will succeed Michael Osterholm, the high-profile disease detective who left the state epidemiologist post last year to start a consulting firm.

Hull is a senior adviser to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Between 1994 and 1998, he was chief of polio eradication for the international health agency, overseeing polio vaccination programs in 87 countries.

Before joining the World Health Organization in 1990, he was the New Mexico state epidemiologist (between 1984 and 1989) and also was with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trained at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Hull has published research on polio, measles, AIDS, plague and other infectious diseases.

He will begin as Minnesota's state epidemiologist Aug. 28, overseeing a department that monitors disease outbreaks.

The news briefs from which the above is extracted can be found at http://www2.startribune.com/
stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?thisStory=82234332

Notification of the above news items was received via NewsIndex http://www.newsindex.com/

[ Index ]

DATELINE
18 August 2000
BBCTV Watchdog Healthcheck Program to feature Post-Polio.
*
17 August 2000
Item 1
Polio Eradication: Polio battles: UN wants to rid world of disease by 2005
and
Item 2
Polio Eradication: India: Cabinet okays Rs 1,118-cr pulse polio plan.
*
15 August 2000
Polio Eradication: Polio Campaign Reaches Congo's Children.
*
13 August 2000
Polio Eradication: Pakistan predicts a polio-free future but not by the end of 2000.
*
11 August 2000
Item 1
Polio Survivor in the News: Having grandchildren with disabilities leads 2 women to form one-of-a-kind support group
and
Item 2
Polio Eradication: India struggles to meet polio deadline.
*
2nd August 2000
Item 1
Obituary: Leah Welch, advocate for the disabled, dies at 76
and
Item 2
U.S.A.: Polio Survivor spearheads a program to get unemployed people who are disabled back to work
and
Item 3
Post-Polio Awareness Week in Washington State
and
Item 4
U.S.A.: Minnesota: New state epidemiologist is WHO polio expert.
*
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Document preparation: Chris Salter, Original Think-tank, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Primary Document Reference: <URL:http://www.ott.zynet.co.uk/polio/lincolnshire/archive/nbit200008.html>
Alternate Document Reference: <URL:http://www.zynet.co.uk/ott/polio/lincolnshire/archive/nbit200008.html>
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