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Friday, 18 October 2019, 9:30am–4:30pm
Hosted by University of Otago, Wellington & Polio NZ

Did you think that polio in NZ was yesterday’s problem? Not so…

Polio Symposium Poster A survey of Polio NZ’s members found that one of the big problems they face is the low level of knowledge among health professionals about the Late Effects of Polio, also known as Post Polio Syndrome. To address this need, University of Otago, Wellington and Polio NZ are jointly hosting a one day symposium in Wellington for health clinicians on the Late Effects of Polio. This highly interactive symposium will bring together the clinical teams, the researchers and those with lived experience of this debilitative condition to improve outcomes for all.

There will be a session on vaccinations and the role of people who had polio in telling their stories for the benefit of parents considering vaccinations.

A highlight at the Symposium will be the New Zealand premiere of ‘Korero Polio – Phillip's story’.

Register now

This webpage will be updated as further information is confirmed. (Last updated on 16 September 2019)


Session 1: Overview of Late Effects of Polio & Rehabilitation
Session 2: Needs Assessment Clinics, Health Pathways & GP as first port of call
Session 3: Post polio and pain, fatigue, respiratory, sleep, temperature sensitivity
Session 4: Post polio & mental wellbeing, quality of life, resilience and self care
Session 5: Post polio, foot functioning & orthotics
Session 6: Raising awareness – Link with vaccine and telling our stories

Speakers include

  • Mark Inglis (ONZM, mountaineer, researcher, speaker and winemaker)
  • Dr Gareth Parry (Emeritus Professor of Neurology, University of Minnesota and visiting consultant at Capital and Coast DHB) will explain Late Effects of Polio, possible causes and symptoms.
  • Dr Vic du Plessis (Rehabilitation Specialist and Neurologist) will address the role of rehabilitation for people experiencing LEoP.
  • Dr Andrew Veale (Respiratory and Sleep Specialist) will discuss LEoP symptoms impacting on breathing and sleep, and helpful strategies for managing these.
  • Dr Louise Lynch (Clinical Lead in Pain Management at Capital Coast DHB and former Consultant Anaesthetist of Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust)
  • Gordon Jackman (CEO, Duncan Foundation) will describe Health Pathways and the clinics established by the Duncan Foundation for assessing and managing the symptoms of clients experiencing LEoP.
  • Dr Lynn McBain (GP and Head of Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington) will discuss the role of GP in supporting people with Late Effects of Polio
  • Dr Chris Cameron (Consultant in clinical pharmacology and internal medicine, Capital and Coast DHB and Senior Lecturer in clinical pharmacology at the Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago)
  • Dr William Levack (Associate Professor, University of Otago, Wellington and President, Rehabilitation Association of NZ) will present initial findings of University of Otago research on dynamic braces.
  • Professor Michael Baker (Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington) will speak about the eradication of polio as a public health issue in New Zealand.
  • Dr Helen Aspasia Petousis-Harris (Vaccinologist, Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, The University of Auckland) will discuss the current situation in New Zealand with respect to vaccinations.

Korero Polio – Phillip’s story

POLIO NZ Phillip Korowai P
POLIO NZ Phillip Gaffer W T

The short documentary which tells the very moving story of Phillip Rudolph’s journey with polio will be launched at the symposium. Trailer for Korero Polio documentary

Who should attend?

While the symposium is primarily intended to upskill health clinicians, including physiotherapists, GPs, rehabilitation specialists, anaesthetists, orthopaedic surgeons, orthotists, occupational therapists, pain specialists, podiatrists, nurses, counsellors, clinical psychologists and speech therapists.

It will also be very valuable for helping anyone experiencing Late Effects of Polio to better understand and manage the condition and get useful support from health professionals.

Where will it be held?

The symposium will be held in Nordmeyer Theatre at The University of Otago’s Wellington campus in Newtown (next to Wellington Regional Hospital) from 9:30am–4:30pm on Friday, 18 October 2019.

Note: Nordmeyer Theatre has space for wheelchairs at both the top (level D) and bottom Ground Floor-level C) of the theatre, with lift access between the floors. There is a fully accessible toilet on level C.

There are mobility parks outside CCDHB’s Orthopaedic Outpatients, across the carpark from University of Otago Medical School—entry from Mein St.

Course cost and registration

The symposium registration fee is as follows:

Full registration: $75 incl GST
Webinar registration (via Zoom): $35 incl GST
Rotary-sponsored registration for Polio NZ members with polio: Free
Rotary-sponsored registration for Polio NZ members with polio – by webinar: Free

The cost of full registration includes morning and afternoon tea and a light lunch.

Those registering to attend via webinar will be sent login details nearer the time.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge financial support from Bernie Knowles Bequest (Administered by Rotary Club of Wellington) in assisting Polio NZ members to attend the symposium.

Register now