To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to help eradicate polio in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Pakistan.
The UK is the third largest donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and has committed £1.3 billion in total since 1995. In Afghanistan and Pakistan GPEI are working to reach children in inaccessible regions that have been missed by vaccination campaigns. They are also tackling misinformation campaigns that severely affect vaccine uptake. UK funding contributes significantly to these efforts.
The UK are observers on the Polio Oversight Board and represent all state donors on the Strategy Committee, which gives us a position from which to influence the activities of the programme at a strategic level. We regularly review progress in the endemic countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan and DFID country offices in each of these countries also have valuable insight by engaging with the programme in country.