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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

BPF attends European Polio Conference

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

A European Polio Conference took place on Friday 26 May in Nancy, France and hosted by Polio France in cooperation with the European Polio Union (EPU).

The conference was to inform people affected by polio, and it focused on the management of polio and Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS). In the audience were health professionals, members of Polio France and representatives from polio organisations across Europe, including The British Polio Fellowship.

Presentations were grouped into four main categories: scientific and technological innovations, which included research on brain changes in polio survivors, advancements in polio vaccines and new materials used in the development of orthotics; experiences of care networks for patients with late effects of polio and PPS; surgical considerations for people affected by polio, looking specifically at anaesthesia, restoring total function in knees or hips, and the use of artificial joints; and finally ways to avoid disability degradation, focusing on managing weight, adapting equipment for physical sports or activities, and understanding the benefits of hydrotherapy.

Chief Executive Kripen Dhrona, Trustee Frances Quinn and Communications and Information Manager Carol Levin from The British Polio Fellowship were invited to the Conference as guests of the EPU. Member David Mitchell, who is President of the EPU, was also present.

"It was a very good, comprehensive Conference and certainly information packed. We were particularly interested to hear about the care networks and the lessons we learnt will certainly help inform our own Healthcare Pathway" commented Dhrona.

Conference attendees later made their way to City Hall in the centre of Nancy, for an official reception hosted by Polio France. Special awards were presented to Johan Bijttebier (Belgium), a Founder and first President of the EPU, to Els Symons, Founder and former EPU Director (stepped down in 2015), and to three respected experts in the European polio community, Professor Alain Yelnik (France), Professor Pierre Van Damme (Belgium), and Dr. Axel Reutz (Germany). Johan Bijttebier was also made an EPU Honorary President and the other four became EPU Honorary Members.

The next day, Saturday 27 May, there was an Annual General Meeting for the EPU. It was attended by around 55 members and guests and was an opportunity to hear the news and future plans of all the European Polio organisations present.

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