Posted by Kelvin Davies on May 29, 2017
This week our guest speaker, Gordon Jackman, who is the Programme Manager for Polio NZ Inc., provided a graphic insight into the world action against this crippling disease.
Gordon contracted polio as a young child, one year before the Polio vaccine was introduced into New Zealand. He is exceptional in terms of how he has coped with life and at the same time has been very active on the world stage in the fight against Polio. He showed us his orthotic boot which enables him to walk without a noticeable limp. Advances are being made in this field but the ankle foot type boots are expensive and can cost more than $15k US.
We saw some graphic films shot in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Congo Republic where aid workers are not always welcome.
In New Zealand there are 8,000+ polio survivors. There can be long term consequences because of polio and these include diabetes, strokes, heart attacks and brain damage.
The best future possible is:
  • The wild Polio virus is extinct.
  • Every Polio survivor can reach their full potential and becomes a valued member of their community.
  • Has access to information and education and suitable employment.
  • Health professionals are supported to deliver their services.
  • NZ is part of and contributes to a worldwide post-polio support network.
In this regard NZ polio Inc is working with Polio Europe, Canada Australia, Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the WHO to build a global support network for Polio survivors once the wild polio virus is eliminated. The joint programme is in its early stages.
Gordon, you are an inspiration to everyone and one can only commend sincerely your future work in assisting the polio sufferers to have a better life.