UK International Development Secretary Alok Sharma has pledged new aid support to help vaccinate more than 400 million children a year against polio.
- UK support will help vaccinate more than 750 children a minute against polio in developing countries around the world
- The UK package of up to £400 million will help support 20 million health workers and volunteers, via the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
- Three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria – are still not officially polio free
This funding which runs from 2020 to 2023 will help buy tens of millions doses of polio vaccine every year. Without this new support, tens of thousands of children would be at risk of paralysis from the disease, which leaves many unable to walk for the rest of their lives.
Sharma said: “We have made tremendous progress to fight this debilitating disease, but our work must continue if we are to eradicate it forever. … If we were to pull back on immunizations, we could see 200,000 new cases each year in a decade. This would not only be a tragedy for the children affected and their families, but also for the world. We cannot let this happen.”
Thanks to global efforts, backed by the UK, more than 18 million people are currently walking who would otherwise have been paralyzed by the virus.