8/28/2016

Polio New Zealand is planning to reach into the Pacific after discovering survivors needing help.


Help needed for Pacific survivors of Polio
02:10
The disease was stamped out in the region years ago, but those who contracted it are still struggling.
The disease was stamped out in the region years ago, but those who contracted it are still struggling.
Source: ONE News
The disease has been stamped out in the region but it's effects are still being felt decades later.
Every step means pain for polio survivor Reggie Kumar who has worn the same braces for more than 40 years. 
They barely work, broken and repaired too many times and leaving scars. 
"There's all sorts of marks here on my legs," said Mr Kumar. 
"I wasn't allowed to touch anyone or mix with anyone for four years."
Polio New Zealand heard Mr Kumar's story and along with QE Health in Rotorua have brought him to New Zealand to be refitted. 
"Yes I am going to be a new man," said Mr Kumar. 
After taking his first steps in his new brace Mr Kumar said, "this looks awesome, I feel awesome."
He could not believe the difference. 
Polio New Zealand believe Mr Kumar's case is just the tip of the iceberg.
"It's estimated there are up to 10,000 polio survivors here in New Zealand... But it's not known how many there are in the the Pacific," said Gordon Jackman from Polio New Zealand. "A lack of resources in the region means that those affected are likely not to be getting the help they need."
"There isn't the infrastructure in terms of footwear or braces or medical expertise which is going to help those people so really we would like to do something about that," said Mr Jackman.
For Mr Kumar it is about new beginnings.
"I am 60 now.. he later part of my life is going to be an exciting one."
When he gets home to Fiji he wants to learn to ride a bike, and live the childhood dream he never had. 

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