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Archive
February 2001

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.

27th February 2001
"Bradman hailed for polio cure."

Cricketline.com (http://www.cricketline.com/) carried the following AFP report under the headline "Bradman hailed for polio cure":

Australia's opposition leader Kim Beazley said on Monday that cricket great Sir Donald Bradman, who died Sunday aged 92, helped cure him of polio when he was a boy.

"Because his family had experienced something similar, he wrote to my father with a set of exercises to assist me out of the problems associated with that illness," Beazley told reporters.

"It was a long, long time ago. As I used to sit down scrunching up towels between my toes. My mother would say to me: 'Well, Don Bradman says you have got to do this so you better do it'. I can't say I liked the exercises, but they were a help."

Beazley, 52, said Sir Donald's death would leave a gap for many Australians.

"It will be a sad week as all of us in this country contemplate the passing of a person whose equivalent is unlikely to occur in our lifetime or this century," he said.

"For many Australians the passing of Sir Donald Bradman will be like a death in the family."

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.cricketline.com/news/news.html/cl/ENG?ref=11190

[ Index ]

23rd February 2001
Polio Virus Eradication: Egypt appears close to wiping out scourge of polio.

Sun-sentinel.com (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/) carried the following Reuters report by Abdalla Hassan from Cairo on February 22nd, 2001:

Egypt's 17-year-old struggle to eradicate polio may soon be crowned with success, with not a single case of the crippling virus reported so far this year.

"We are now at the end of a polio era," Tarek Abdel-Rahman, a doctor and project officer for the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) dealing with immunisation, told Reuters this week.

"The quality of the campaigns has increased dramatically from 1998 onward," said Faten Kamel, medical officer for polio eradication at the U.N. World Heath Organisation (WHO).

The World Summit for Children, held in New York in 1990, set the goal of global polio elimination, but Kamel said there were still 20 countries considered "reservoirs" for polio.

Until recently, Egypt was listed among them, but reported cases have dwindled to three last year from nine in 1999 and 626 in 1991. No case has come to light this year.

"We need three years from the last case reported to declare the eradication of polio in Egypt," Abdel-Rahman said.

The Health and Population Ministry has waged a multi-layered war on polio with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), WHO, UNICEF and the Rotary Club.

National immunisation vaccinates all children under four against polio. The last round of the campaign vaccinated 7.2 million youngsters nation-wide, said Abdel-Rahman.

Wild virus transmission is mainly confined to the south. Local immunisation campaigns are triggered when health officials suspect its presence.

The poliomyelitis virus invades the central nervous system, spreads along nerve fibres and destroys nerve cells, paralysing muscles in a condition known as acute flaccid paralysis.

Doctors must immediately report cases of flaccid paralysis to the Health Ministry, which will then vaccinate anywhere from 10,000 to one million children around the suspected case.

Abdel-Rahman said routine immunisation coverage now exceeded 95 percent in Egypt. Keeping the vaccine at the proper temperature is often a problem when electricity outages are common, said Nagwa Farag, a UNICEF communication officer.

Oral polio vaccine loses its potency at high temperatures, and must be kept below eight degrees centigrade from when it leaves the manufacturer until it reaches Egypt's 4,000 rural health clinics -- and the mouths of young children.

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/
detail/0,1136,37500000000113161,00.html

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

[ Index ]

21st February 2001
Personal Medical Record Privacy to be Compromised by UK Government.

The government is currently examining new legislation called the Health and Social Care Bill, which is expected to become law very soon (within a few weeks). The Bill will undergo a first reading in the House of Lords on February 26th, and is expected to reach committee stage around March 5th.

There is one clause in this Bill - clause 67 - which is causing great concern amongst healthcare professional and patient representative groups alike, the consensus being that it should be removed before the Bill becomes law.

Clause 67 is a fragment of the Health and Social Care Bill, which, if it became law, would grant the Secretary of State for Health unprecedented powers of control over the private health records of ordinary people.

Why is that a problem? Those powers would allow the Secretary of State to make personal medical records available to others, even if the patient had expressly said that they did not want that to happen!

Not only that, but the Clause would give the Health Secretary the power to pick and choose - entirely at his discretion - which organisations and companies could gain access to that private information. It would put all these decisions in the hands of a single individual - the Health Secretary.

In summary, it would appear that clause 67 gives total control of identifiable and anonymised data to the Secretary of State, who can decide who has access to any identifiable patient data (patient notes, paper or electronic, X-rays, tissue samples, genetic data, clinic attendances, etc). They can be passed without consent and over-riding any legal or professional duty of confidentiality on to whichever organisation or individual the secretary of State chooses, see cl 67 (3), a) in the interests of improving patient care b) in the public interest.

A web site has been set up as an information resource on Clause 67, the above text, as a matter of expediency, being in the main adapted from the site's opening paragraphs. See http://www.gorjuss.com/medicalprivacy/

[ Index ]

11th February 2001
Health On the Net Foundation (HON) February-March 2001 Survey.

Invitation to Participate

From HON Survey Background:

The Internet and on-line services, especially in the health and medical domains, were unknown to people outside of education and research circles until just a few years ago. Today, everyone has heard about the Internet and the number of users has exploded. The question "Who is using it, and for what?" is almost as old as the Web itself. One of the first to use the Web as a survey medium and to try to answer this question were the GVU's WWW User Surveys[1], the first of which was conducted in January, 1994. To monitor users needs on a regular basis, the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) started conducting regular surveys of its own Web site traffic in early 1997. You can consult the methodology of our surveys for futher details. We sincerely thank the many thousands of respondents and all contributing parties who have helped us to develop HON surveys into the authoritative Internet service they are today. HON continually seeks contributions from commercial and non-commercial organisations to support current and future surveys.

HON are interested in the views of medical professionals and patients. If you wish to participate, please go to the following URL:

http://www.hon.ch/Survey/quest_internet.html

All the results are freely available online and your participation allows HON and other organizations to improve the services, which we offer by developing our understanding of the users of the medical 'net.

http://www.hon.ch/Survey/analysis.html

[ Index ]

4th February 2001

Polio Survivors in the News: Polio Survivor sues City of New York.

The following article by Devlin Barrett appeared in nypost.com (http://www.nypost.com/ under the headline "Polio Victim Sues City In Cop 'Mock'" on Thursday, February 1, 2001:

A Bronx man suffering from polio sued the city yesterday - saying a cop wrongly arrested him and then mocked the crippling effects of his disease.

Wilfredo Rivera, 38, says cops stopped him when he entered the subway station at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue last February with his home health aide.

Rivera had used his Access-a-Ride card - issued to the disabled by the MTA - to open a gate and wheel through with the aide, who did not pay her fare.

Officer Raymond Suarez ticketed the health aide for fare-beating, prompting a protest from Rivera, who argues in court papers that aides do not have to pay a fare when escorting people on the subway.

Under MTA rules, Access-a-Ride cards specify whether the user can bring along a health aide without the fare. Rivera's suit does not say if his card allowed for such an escort.

But the polio-stricken man says Suarez "proceeded to curse [Rivera] and mock" his slurred speech - a symptom of the disease - when Rivera began disputing the ticket.

Rivera became upset, "causing his body to move in a spastic and uncontrollable manner," the lawsuit says.

The spasms then moved his wheelchair, making his knee "lightly bump" into Suarez, who "reached for his gun but did not draw it," the suit says.

Rivera was charged with assault and arrested - charges that were later dropped by the Manhattan DA's office.

"They must have panicked because of some sort of ignorance of the scenario," said Rivera's lawyer, Bruce Menken. "The most outrageous thing is the officers claimed they were injured because they had to make an assault charge against my client.

"If the jury gets to look at Mr. Rivera, they will see right away it is impossible for him to injure anyone," said Menken.

The lawyer says the cops also claimed Rivera, whose first language is Spanish, cursed them in English. Menken said this is preposterous because even he has a hard time understanding his client. "He has a major, major speech impediment," said Menken.

Other officers grabbed the chair and broke it while transporting Rivera to be fingerprinted, the lawsuit charges.

Rivera's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks $10 million from the city.

A police spokesman said the NYPD does not comment on pending litigation.

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/21530.htm

[ Index ]

Polio Survivors in the News: Hager will ''keep on truckin' '' for governor bid.

PilotOnline (http://www.pilotonline.com/) carried the following Associated Press report by Bob Lewis from Richmond on February 1, 2001:

Annoyed by Republican pressure to retreat from the party's gubernatorial nomination battle, Lt. Gov. John H. Hager killed speculation Wednesday that he would drop out and concede the ticket to Attorney General Mark L. Earley.

"The message that I'd like to send out about our campaign for governor is this: We're going to keep on truckin'," Hager said.

Attention had been focused on Hager since Monday, when Gov. Jim Gilmore acknowledged efforts to broker a deal that would avert a possibly divisive fight between Earley and Hager leading to the party's June 1-2 state nominating convention.

The party's deadline for candidates to lock-in to specific races is 5 p.m. Thursday. After that, neither Earley nor Hager will be able to drop out of the governor's race and seek re-election.

Gilmore, the new Republican National Committee chairman, restated his desire Wednesday that one of the candidates withdraw from the top race, ending an already fractious intraparty contest. Both men could then seek spots on the GOP's November ticket -- one running for governor, one seeking re-election.

"I would love to find a way to present a unified ticket this fall," Gilmore said.

"The Democrats are running a multimillionaire. He has a lot of money but he's not very long on government experience."

Northern Virginia telecommunications tycoon Mark R. Warner is thus far unchallenged in the June 12 Democratic primary.

Gilmore said he offered neither Earley nor Hager inducements to back off, and he has not publicly stated a preference that one or the other step aside. Gilmore is barred by the state constitution from seeking re-election.

Earley's campaign had no immediate comment about Hager's decision.

A spokeswoman for the governor said Gilmore planned no statement on Hager's announcement, either.

Hager, 64, said people have underestimated him since polio confined him to a wheelchair 25 years ago, and that those pressuring him to abandon his race were making the same mistake now.

The full text of the article, of which the above paragraphs are an extract, can be found at http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0201hag.html

See also:
NewsBites 24th June 2000: 1st of 3 candidates to officially announce Lt. Gov. makes bid for office formal.
NewsBites 6th November 1997: USA - "Polio" in Chair Wins VA Lt. Gov. Election.

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

[ Index ]

1st February 2001
Polio Virus Eradication: Polio eradication award for Harshwardhan.

The India Times (http://www.indiatimes.com/) reported from New Delhi:

Former Delhi health minister Dr Harshwardhan has been given the 'polio eradication champion' award. The Prime Minister conferred this award on him on Tuesday. He lauded his efforts for eradicating the dreaded disease and said that people involved in polio eradication programme should work in such a way that they get good results.

While receiving the award, Dr Harshwardhan said it was the joint effort of thousands of people from across the country that made this programme a success and made polio-free India a reality. They included government officials, doctors, even school children also contributed in polio eradication programme.

He added that if all went well, by 2005, polio would be completely uprooted from the country.

The 'polio eradication champion' award was started in 1995 by the Rotary International to encourage people who are involved in the polio eradication drive and have done exemplary work, said Sudarshan Agarwal, member, Human Rights Commission. He also informed that it was quite a prestigious award and earlier, Bill Clinton and former prime Minister of Britain John Major had also received this award.

The full text of the article can be found at http://www.indiatimes.com/nbtit/01indi5.htm

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

[ Index ]

DATELINE
27th February 2001
"Bradman hailed for polio cure."
*
23rd February 2001
Polio Virus Eradication: Egypt appears close to wiping out scourge of polio.
*
21st February 2001
Personal Medical Record Privacy to be Compromised by UK Government.
*
11th February 2001
Health On the Net Foundation (HON) February-March 2001 Survey.
*
4th February 2001
Item 1
Polio Survivors in the News: Polio Survivor sues City of New York.
Item 2
Polio Survivors in the News: Hager will ''keep on truckin' '' for governor bid.
*
1st February 2001
Polio Virus Eradication: Polio eradication award for Harshwardhan.
*
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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/nbit200102.html>
Alternate Document Reference: <URL:http://www.zynet.co.uk/ott/polio/lincolnshire/archive/nbit200102.html>
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