The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that, one out of every 200 polio-infected persons faces the scary possibility of being paralysed permanently. The serious effects of polio prompted a concerted effort worldwide to fight this deadly disease.
The World Polio Day is observed annually on October 24, and the theme for this year is “Together, We End Polio”. The day is dedicated to creating awareness about the disease and supporting all initiatives to prevent it. This day is crucial in sensitising the world that polio vaccination is very essential and there is an ongoing fight against a disease that cripples many people in several countries.
Despite that Nigeria was declared free of wild polio in 2020, there are still some cases of polio in some northern states.
To commemorate the world polio day, In an interview with Inclusive News Network, the Executive Director of Jibore Impeccable Foundation, Joy Bolarin narrated her ordeal and nasty experience growing up as polio survivor that made her hate polio the most.
According to her, “this nasty experience got me thinking about trauma and psychological effects of polio on several children and my childhood experience came to mind.
“I was about 11 or 12 years old by the time I begin to hated polio the most, my mother told me I got paralyzed by polio at the age of 2 years old, there was no rehabilitation center for polio survivor in my country, you will just continue to live with it, no form of any training telling you what to do and what not to do.
“I played with other children in the neighborhood and we do have nice time playing together but sometimes, some of these children mock me and make jest of me because of the way I walk, and I will begin to cry and go home sad but that is always short lived, after a while, I will overlook it and continue to live my life but there is this particular nasty experience I can never forget.
“One day, my mother sent me to the market to buy some things, getting to the market, I bought those things I was sent to buy and set to be going back home, when without any warning my limb gave way and I fell down among the crowd, people run towards me to assist me pack my items scattered everywhere, I headed home on a very sad mood and emotionally hurt but I didn’t show it to the people around at the market.
“I pretended not to be disturbed by the fall, when I got home, I dropped the items and went inside my room to lie down without talking to anyone, I didn’t tell my parents about what happened at the market, I just see it as one of those embarrassing events that comes with polio, which affects my weak limb, I do fall sometimes before then but not among large crowd like that particular day.
“I was about to get over the sad event and pick myself up to come out and continue my normal life, when people that saw me fell at the market came home to open the fresh wound by telling my mother that she should not send me to the market again because I fell down at the market, my mother was surprised.
“She came to me in my room to ask me if it was true and I said yes, she asked why I didn’t tell her, I just kept quiet looking at her without saying anything, she couldn’t understand the emotional battle I go through, fighting on my mind about the devastating effects of polio, this event made me hate polio the more that particular day and it can’t be easily erased from my memory.
“As a polio survivor, I have experienced some other challenges, like the desire to participate in March past in school but my disability won’t grant me the opportunity to participate, I know am not the only one having some forms of limitation because polio when attack, can cause permanent disability.
“If you are a polio survivor reading this message, let’s hear from you about how polio has affected you too.
“Going by this year’s theme, It must be a collective responsibility of everyone not government alone to end polio by vaccinating our children regularly. Society need to show more empathy not pity.
“Polio survivor need to support each other to be able to cope well with this enormous challenges that come with polio.” She said.