In 1988, when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was founded, there were 350,000 cases of paralysis from polio every year. In 30 years, with UK support, GPEI has led efforts that have reduced cases of polio by 99%.
DFID closely monitors progress towards eradication through a number of mechanisms including our membership of GPEI’s key governance bodies and our country-level engagement. There has been a slight increase in polio cases this year compared to the last. The last step – reaching all children in inaccessible and often conflict-affected areas – is proving the most difficult. We must remain focussed on completing the task to ensure the benefits to global health are not lost, and that we do not slide back.