Eradication of Polio January 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding polio.
I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by polio and believe that we cannot relax our struggle with this disease - we need to push for its total eradication. I am aware of the remarkable progress that has been made towards ending polio with global cases down from 350,000 in 1985 to 294 last year.
The UK committed £300 million in funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 2013, which will be delivered over six years. This aid will vaccinate up to 360 million children, which represents a vital step towards defeating the disease.
On World Polio Day, 24th October 2015, the opposition Front Bench urged the Government to recommit to ending polio for good. I hope that the Government works closely with dedicated organisations such as Global Poverty Project, Rotary International and Results UK on this issue and encourages other countries to meet the urgent need for action.
I agree entirely that the UK should be at the forefront of international efforts to tackle poverty and poor health provision in developing countries, as we were when the Department for International Development was established in 1997. Our political leadership led to the Millennium Development Goals, and we tripled the UK's aid budget - helping to lift three million people out of poverty every year between 1997 and 2010. The Government must now show similar ambition in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to eradicate polio.
Thank you once again for writing to me and highlighting this important issue.