Polio: Disease Control

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 7th June 2022.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of UK budget reductions to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (a) on global polio eradication and (b) recent outbreaks of polio in (i) Malawi and (ii) Mozambique.

Photo of Amanda Milling Amanda Milling Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK remains committed to polio eradication, and supports the work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), to which we have provided £1.38 billion since 1995. The GPEI have led efforts that have eradicated wild polio from all but two countries, with last year reporting just six cases of wild polio virus; by far the lowest ever recorded. GPEI have now vaccinated 13 million children in Malawi, Mozambique and neighbouring countries. This recent importation of cases to Africa shows the importance of retaining high levels of childhood immunisation, which is why the UK remains the largest donor to Gavi's core mission. In addition to our support at a global level to GPEI, the UK is a strong partner to the Malawi and Mozambique health sectors, including through our health systems strengthening programmes, which have components aimed at building preparedness and response to health shocks such as disease outbreaks and supporting the provision of childhood vaccines.

The difficult economic situation has meant that we have had to reduce the aid budget, including for programmes such as GPEI. We will return to spending 0.7% of our Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance as soon as the fiscal situation allows.

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