Rehabilitation response to people affected by polio in Tajikistan
As of 28 May 2010, 140 cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (of which 83% are in children under 6 years of age) have been confirmed in Tajikistan. This number is expected to increase, pending laboratory results. From 31 May to 5 June 2010, representatives from the Polio Eradication Initiative and the Disability and Rehabilitation Team within WHO undertook a rapid assessment of the rehabilitation needs of people affected by polio in Dushanbe and adjoining areas of Tajikistan.
People affected by polio would benefit from rehabilitation interventions such as postural care, therapy, splints or orthoses. At the request of the Tajikistan Ministry of Health, a half-day training programme, based on the WHO Guidelines for the prevention of deformities in polio, was carried out for doctors, with a specific focus on management during the recovery phase. WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Health to respond to the polio outbreak by providing technical support to enable existing service providers to offer rehabilitation to prevent deformities and improve functioning for people with long-term impairments due to polio.
During the mission, effort was made to bring the different stakeholders together to support people affected by polio and their families in the recovery and rehabilitation process. As a result of this endeavour, a health cluster sub-group on rehabilitation has been formed to support the polio response initiative under the leadership of UNICEF and Operation Mercy-Tajikistan.