ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom on Friday announced an additional £100 million to help end polio in the last three endemic countries of the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Globally, the wild polio virus still exists in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, with eight new cases reported in the three countries this year. Of these, three cases were reported from Pakistan, with experts hopeful that the number of cases would not reach double figures.
“2017 could be the year when Pakistan defeats polio,” said UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) head in Pakistan Joanna Reid at the announcement of the aid.
“DFID will help to give that final push, but the credit goes to Pakistanis from all levels of society who continue to make commitments, spread the message and go door to door to vaccinate children. They’ve done a great job already – not a single case has been reported from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), one of the most challenging areas to reach. Let’s go that last mile together,” she added.
She hoped that likely that the last new case of polio would be diagnosed this year, paving the way for the world to be certified polio-free in 2020.
Meanwhile, UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel stated that the UK would support to lead the last push needed to end polio including vaccinating up to 45 million children against the disease each year until 2020 –80 children a minute.
“Polio has no place in the 21st Century,” Patel said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2017.