Moved by the desire to give succour to women on the after effects of poliomyelitis-a disease caused by polio virus- the Global Initiative for Women with Polio (GIWP), an NGO, has launched an awareness/sensitization campaign.
It is aimed at enlightening women suffering from Post- Polio syndrome (PPS) on issues about their situation and how to live normal, healthy and productive lives.
The inaugural launch/post- polio syndrome awareness campaign which took place in Owerri on Thursday, December 17 attracted several women with polio- related conditions from across the state and beyond.
In her speech, the Executive Director of Global Initiative for Women with Polio(GIWP), Mrs Chidiebere Mgbemena described Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) as a disorder of nervous systems that affects polio survivors, years after recovery from an initial acute attack of the poliomyelitis virus, adding that it is a variable combination of new progressive muscle weakness and other symptoms.
According to Mrs Mgbemena, ” the most common symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, fatigue ( both generalized and muscular) and a gradual decrease in the size of muscle ( muscle atrophy).
Pain from joint degeneration and increasing skeletal deformities such as scoliosis (curvature of the spine) is common and may precede the weakness and muscle atrophy, breathing or swallowing problems and sleep- related breathing disorders such as sleep apnoea.
Also speaking, Dr Chidi Mbatuegwu of St. David Hospital disclosed that polio virus attacks the nerves supplying the muscles with health, saying that poliomyelitis enters one through the mouth and is spread through faeces, inhalation, etc.
Dr Mbatuegwu advised them to always wash their vegetables with salt and observe good hygiene. He informed that PPS is not a life threatening situation and that it could only become life threatening if the paralysis involves muscles associated with breathing.
As a preventive measure, Dr Mbatuegwu urged polio survivors to always have enough rest daily, exercise, blow balloons and be involved in like- minded social support groups so as to share their problems. He also advised against heavy food at night and to eat more of fruits and vegetables.
Several wheelchairs were given out to many of the polio survivors in need of them. Present at the event was His Grace Most Revd B.C.I. Okoro, retired Bishop of Orlu and former Arch Bishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical diocese. He is the father of the organizer, Mrs Chidiebere Mgbemena.