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May 28, 2010
AT THE time of the polio epidemics, the corrective surgery that parents couldn't pay for, was sponsored by the health department, as were the aids that were required to make us mobile. There was money for surgery, crutches, boots, wheelchairs, etc. Fifteen years into our democracy and the chronically ill and disabled suffer bias from both State and the private sector.
State hospitals cannot provide many chronic medications and medical aids are refusing to cover lifesaving drugs and operations.
In 1993, I had a total shoulder replacement. I still have loose bones in my shoulder and am in need of a partial shoulder replacement. But my medical aid doesn't pay for this surgery. My arthritis and damaged shoulder cause chronic pain which makes getting through the day very difficult, but my medical aid doesn't pay for painkillers other than paracetamol.
My chronic open-angle glaucoma and Sjogren’s disease is severely affecting my eyesight but dare I hope for treatment and will my medical aid pay for it? Why does the government allow medical aids to give their members less and less for lifesaving operations and drugs every year?
Thoughts of suicide can go through one’s mind when the diseases one suffers from are so painful that one dreads waking up in the morning. Was Hitler right? Should imperfect humans like myself be gassed to make a country strong or is the government shirking its responsibilities to South Africans?
In the Eastern Cape hundreds of premature babies have died so far this year and 11 in one week in Gauteng. This government should be looking after us all but instead the gravy train is getting longer and fatter; and the designer suits and luxury cars are paid for with money that should be in government coffers feeding the poor, keeping us healthy and ensuring that our babies live. — Cilla Webster, via e-mail
Let church speak up
AS A member of the Jesus Christ Family Church, I’m concerned about the negative publicity our church is getting from the Daily Dispatch. All the bad comments about our church coming from these so-called ex- members are of great concern. In many instances ex- members are aggrieved individuals. Failure to get comment from current members of the church creates an impression that the Daily Dispatch is siding with these aggrieved individuals and therefore your stories are not balanced.
Ever since this unfortunate episode came to light there has never been a comment from the church about these allegations. If there is substance to these allegations, then let us allow the court to rule on the matter.
God willing JCF will grow bigger and better during and after this storm! — Z Ngesman, Mdantsane
• We have made, and continue to make, repeated efforts to get comment from the JCF Church. – The Editor
Clasificación Internacional de Enfermedades Codifico al Síndrome de Post Polio con el Código G14 Síndrome Postpolio Incluye : Síndrome postpoliomielítico Excluyéndolo del código B91Secuelas de poliomielitis
Polio, postpolio, vacunas, erradicación, the polio epidemics
May 26, 2010
From the 63rd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, the Associated Press reports on what some "describe as a new strategy to get rid of" poliothat focuses on developing solutions to "problems in each country, provides more WHO monitoring, like more teleconferences, and holds governments more accountable." The plans also provide "[n]ew [polio] outbreak response plans," according to the AP.
Some "say there is little new [in this strategy] and that if this effort fails ... serious questions about whether to continue the campaign should be raised," the news service reports.
"Since WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and Rotary International set out to eradicate polio in 1988, they have come tantalizingly close," the news service writes. "By 2003, cases had dropped by more than 99 percent. But progress has stalled since and several deadlines have been missed."
Despite eradication efforts, polio remains "entrenched" in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. "Experts worry that as the effort enters its 22nd year, donors' patience and wallets are running thin. Sustaining the effort costs about $750 million every year," the AP reports.
According to the AP, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "said the next three years are 'critically important' [to fight polio]. The foundation said their polio donations are reconsidered every year."
The piece also includes comments from current and former heads of the WHO's polio programs, who reflect on the new strategy and express concerns over what will happen if the WHO's polio program is abandoned (Cheng, 5/20).In related news, the AP reports the WHO's 193 member states endorsed a "global strategy to reduce alcohol abuse ... Harmful drinking is the third leading risk factor for disability and premature death in the world, with 2.5 million deaths each year linked to alcohol, WHO said," the news service writes. "That figure includes 320,000 people between 15 and 29, and [WHO] said many others are sickened with heart and liver diseases, cancer and even HIV/AIDS because of alcohol abuse," according to the AP (Klapper, 5/20).
Also at the WHA, leaders "agreed on Thursday to try to reduce children's consumption of junk food and soft drinks by asking member states to restrict advertising and marketing," Reuters reports. According to the WHO, some "42 million children under the age of five are overweight, 35 million of them in developing countries," the news service writes (Nebehay, 5/20).
U.S. Surgeon-General Regina Benjamin welcomed WHO's childhood obesity plan during the WHA.
"The United States thanks the WHO for its work on the global strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases," Benjamin said, in remarksprepared for delivery during the meeting. "Because non-communicable diseases are a significant public health issue that affect both developing and developed countries, we continue to support the WHO's Action Plan for implementing the global strategy, such as the inclusion of all stakeholders in that work, as the reduction of non-communicable diseases is a shared responsibility" (5/20).
WHO Faces Questions Of Handling of H1N1
In related news, the BBC reports on how the topic of the WHO's handling of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic remains high on the agenda at the WHA. The piece reflects on health experts' skepticism that the virus outbreak was classified as a pandemic.
"The WHO has struggled to offer clear answers on the question of its definition of a pandemic, partly because of its policy of keeping the identity and the deliberations of its pandemic emergency advisory committee secret," the BBC writes. "The lack of transparency in its decision making process, together with the WHO's advice to countries to begin widespread vaccination against swine flu, has led some observers to suspect undue influence from the pharmaceutical industry" (Foulkes, 5/20).
Meanwhile, "[a]n expert panel investigating the World Health Organization's response to last year's swine flu outbreak said Wednesday it wants to see confidential exchanges between the U.N. body and drug companies," theAP/Washington Post reports. Committee chairman and U.S. Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg said the panel plans to seek documents of correspondence between the groups before and after the WHO declared H1N1 to be a pandemic, according to the news service.
"The documents include 'contractual or letters of understanding' between the pharmaceutical industry and WHO, [Fineberg] said. 'Some of the agreements with industry that we would like to examine have been considered confidential,' but so far all of the panel's requests have been met, he said" (Jordans, 5/19).
This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery atglobalhealth.kff.org.
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Clasificación Internacional de Enfermedades Codifico al Síndrome de Post Polio con el Código G14 Síndrome Postpolio Incluye : Síndrome postpoliomielítico Excluyéndolo del código B91Secuelas de poliomielitis
Polio, postpolio, vacunas, erradicación, Discuss Polio
May 24, 2010
Polio is a disease caused by a virus.
It enters a child’s
(or adult’s) body through the mouth. Sometimes it does
not cause serious illness. But sometimes it causes
paralysis (can’t move arm or leg). It can kill people who
get it, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them
Polio used to be very common in the United States. It
paralyzed and killed thousands of people a year before we
had a vaccine for it.
IPV is a shot, given in the leg or arm, depending on age.
Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other
Most people should get polio vaccine when they are
children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages:
A dose at 2 months A dose at 6-18 months
A dose at 4 months A booster dose at 4-6 years
Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were
already vaccinated as children. But three groups of adults
are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination:
(1) people traveling to areas of the world where polio is
(2) laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
(3) health care workers treating patients who could have polio.
Adults in these three groups who have never been
vaccinated against polio should get 3 doses of IPV:
The first dose at any time,
The second dose 1 to 2 months later,
The third dose 6 to 12 months after the second.
Adults in these three groups who have had 1 or 2 doses
of polio vaccine in the past should get the remaining 1 or 2
doses. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since the
Polio - 1/1/2000
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.
History: A 1916 polio epidemic in the United States killed
6,000 people and paralyzed 27,000 more. In the early
1950’s there were more than 20,000 cases of polio each
year. Polio vaccination was begun in 1955. By 1960
the number of cases had dropped to about 3,000, and by
1979 there were only about 10. The success of polio
vaccination in the U.S. and other countries sparked a
world-wide effort to eliminate polio.
Today: No wild polio has been reported in the United
States for over 20 years. But the disease is still common
in some parts of the world. It would only take one case of
polio from another country to bring the disease back if we
were not protected by vaccine. If the effort to eliminate
the disease from the world is successful, some day we
won’t need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep
getting our children vaccinated.
Oral Polio Vaccine: No longer recommended
There are two kinds of polio vaccine: IPV, which is the shot recommended in the United States today,
and a live, oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is drops that are swallowed.
Until recently OPV was recommended for most children in the United States.
OPV helped us rid the
country of polio, and it is still used in many parts of the world.
Both vaccines give immunity to polio, but OPV is better at keeping the disease from spreading to
other people. However, for a few people (about one in 2.4 million), OPV actually causes polio. Since
the risk of getting polio in the United States is now extremely low, experts believe that using oral
polio vaccine is no longer worth the slight risk, except in limited circumstances which your doctor
can describe. The polio shot (IPV) does not cause polio. If you or your child will be getting OPV, ask
for a copy of the OPV supplemental Vaccine Information Statement.
Adults in these three
groups who have had
3 or more doses of
polio vaccine (either
IPV or OPV) in the
past may get a booster
dose of IPV.
Ask your health care
provider for more
W H A T Y O U N E E D T O K N O W
1- What is polio?
2- Why get vaccinated?
3-Who should get polio?
4- Vaccine and when?
What should I look for?
Look for any unusual condition, such as a serious allergic
reaction, high fever, or unusual behavior.
If a serious allergic reaction occurred, it would happen
within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. Signs
of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty
breathing, weakness, hoarseness or wheezing, a fast heart
beat, hives, dizziness, paleness, or swelling of the throat
What should I do?
• Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right
In the rare event that you or your child has a serious
reaction to a vaccine, there is a federal program that can
help pay for the care of those who have been harmed.
For details about the National Vaccine Injury
Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382 or visit the
program’s website at http://www.hrsa.gov/osp/vicp
• Ask your doctor or nurse. They can give you the
vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of
• Call your local or state health department’s
• Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
-Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
-Visit the National Immunization Program’s website at
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Immunization Program
Vaccine Information Statement
Polio (1/1/2000) 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
These people should not get IPV:
• Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic
reaction to the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin or
polymyxin B should not get the polio shot.
• Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction to a polio
shot should not get another one.
These people should wait:
• Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the
shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover
before getting polio vaccine. People with minor
illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated.
Ask your health care provider for more information.
Some people who get IPV get a sore spot where the shot
was given. The vaccine used today has never been
known to cause any serious problems, and most people
don’t have any problems at all with it.
However, a vaccine, like any medicine, could cause
serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. The
risk of a polio shot causing serious harm, or death, is
• Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it
happened, and when the vaccination was given.
• Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to
report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse
Event Reporting System (VAERS) form.
Or you can file this report through the VAERS website
at www.vaers.org, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
VAERS does not provide medical advice.
Reporting reactions helps experts learn about possible
problems with vaccines.
Some people should not get
4 IPV or should wait.
5 What are the risks from IPV?
6 What if there is a serious
The National Vaccine Injury
7 Compensation Program
8 How can I learn more?
May 21, 2010
May 17, 2010
The WHO’s polio challenge: From inspiration to exhilaration
Canadian leading global battle against disease finds reasons to hope that the tipping point is near
From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published on Sunday, May. 16, 2010 7:18PM EDT
Last updated on Monday, May. 17, 2010 3:09AM EDT
The World Health Assembly – the forum through which the World Health Organization is governed by its 193 member states – will be meeting in Geneva from Monday through May 23. Among the issues they will discuss is stepping up efforts to eradicate polio. The plan to eliminate the disease was first hatched in 1988, but has stalled in recent years. Bruce Aylward, the Canadian epidemiologist who co-ordinates the WHO global polio eradication program talks with The Globe.
In a word, how would you characterize polio eradication efforts to date – frustrating, inspiring, exhilarating?
Frustrating would not be the word. Inspiring would be closer to it. Exhilarating is what I hope to feel five years after.
But there seem to be so many obstacles.
Sure, there are challenges. Take northern Nigeria: There are real problems, but they’re not about polio eradication per se, they’re about making a quantum leap in the delivery of public services like health care. Take northern India: We’ve run into problem, problem, problem. But, again, it’s about applying modern science to breaking the back of an ancient virus. We’re either over, at or inches from the tipping point but we don’t know yet; we’ll know in six months.
If things are going well, why do we need a new plan?
The context is that, two years ago, the world assembly looked at the eradication program and said: ‘We’re deeply alarmed by the situation in Nigeria, and the fact that the last four countries [Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan] seemed stalled in their efforts.’ So it asked for a new strategy. We suspended our five-year plan and developed a one-year plan.
So how is the new plan?
There are four elements: 1) A recognition that, in Asia and Africa, the immunity thresholds you need to stop the virus are different – they are 10-15 per cent higher in Asia, especially northern India, than in sub-Saharan Africa. 2) We learned that polio can survive in smaller populations and geographic sub-populations than scientists ever thought. 3) We have recognized that the routes of international spread of polio are largely predictable. 4) The last piece of the strategy involved the vaccine itself. Since 2005 we’ve used new vaccine – type 1 and type 3 – and they’ve worked really well. But we’ve seen a Ping-Pong effect: You get type 1 under control and type 3 pops up, and vice-versa. So now we’re going to systematically use bivalent vaccines that work well against both remaining viruses.
Are you confident this will get you over the hump?
Just five months into 2010, we’re seeing really good results. At this time last year, we had 300 cases of polio in Nigeria; this year, we have two. In northern India, in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh we have not had a single case in four months.
But you have a big outbreak in Tajikistan, which has been polio-free for a long time. It’s like a hydra – cut off one head and two more appear.
It’s almost like a hydra, but it’s not: To kill a hydra you have to cut off all the heads at once. With polio, the challenge is different, it’s finding the weak point in the hydra. If you look at a map of the world, every dot you see that is a case of polio originates from eight states in northern Nigeria and two states in northern India. If you stop polio there, there will be no other outbreaks.
But the voices saying “eradication can’t work” are growing louder.
There are two groups that control whether or not eradication will get finished. First, there are the countries where infection is still endemic, in particular India and Nigeria. The other group is the G8. That’s because 50-60 per cent of the funding for the initiative comes from the G8. The day they decide ‘we’re not behind this program,’ that will be the end of eradication. The good news is that neither group is saying ‘No.’ On the contrary.
What message would you like to deliver about polio eradication to the G8 meeting in Canada?
They embraced a bold initiative on public health: to get rid of polio and to eliminate inequity in public health. After 10 years of a major investment, they are finally seeing a dramatic result in polio: months and months with very little virus in northern India and northern Nigeria. This is their chance to finish the job.
Polio, postpolio, vacunas, erradicación, Canada
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