Polio is on the brink of being the second disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated. When the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was created in 1988, polio paralysed more than 1,000 children worldwide every day. Today, only three countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria – have polio and there have only been eight cases in 2017.
The UK is at the forefront of fighting global health threats, including polio. Since eradication efforts began in 1988, The Government has committed over £1.2 billion to polio, including £300 million from 2013 to 2018. The UK is also the largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which supports the rapid global introduction of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine, a major instrument in the final stages of eradication.
Priti Patel Said:
‘To support the final push, I am proud to say that the UK is now committing an additional £100 million towards polio eradication. This will help immunise up to 45 million children each year until 2020 and, if successful, save more than 650,000 children from paralysis every single year, forever. GPEI now needs £130 million more to finish the job.’
James Duddridge Said:
I welcome the Secretary of State for International Development announcement of the Government’s commitment of an additional £100 million towards polio eradication. Britain's aid spending has achieved many successes, of which we can all be proud. Whilst the UK has not seen a case of Polio since 1982, there are over 100,000 polio survivors in the UK for whom this disease remains a reality. Our contributions help build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world, and also allows us to protect our own people from disease, conflict and instability.