The UK is a long standing supporter of efforts to eradicate polio, providing consistent support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) since 1995. We are the second largest state donor to this programme and have provided a total of £1.3 billion to date. In September 2019 Ministers also approved a new £400 million investment for the 2020 – 2023 period, bringing our total investment to £1.7 billion.
Transmission of wild poliovirus is now only present in two countries compared to 124 when GPEI was formed in 1988, and cases of paralysis have reduced in that time from 350,000 a year to 175 last year.
In the 2018-2019 period, the UK provided a total of £50 million to programmes to specifically tackle polio; £4 million to Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for the purchase of polio vaccines, and £46 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which contributed to the vaccination of over 400 million children.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership with six core partners, including the World Health Organisation and Rotary International. The UK works closely with these partners to eradicate polio from these last few parts of the world.