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World Polio Day: International Development Secretary leads the UK’s last push to end polio

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This World Polio Day (24 October 2017) the UK has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicate the disease globally and help millions of children lead healthier lives.

The International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced in August £100 million to lead the last push needed to end polio worldwide. This support will immunise up to 45 million children against the disease each year until 2020 – or 80 children a minute.

Next month, the first 15 million children will be vaccinated and mean the Global Polio Eradication Initiative can intensify activities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

“Polio has no place in the 21st Century and the UK is leading the way in the last push to eradicate it globally. DFID is vaccinating 45 million children against the disease each year until 2020 – that’s 80 children a minute.

“The work of our partners including the One Last Push campaign and Rotary International has been vital in reducing the number of cases; and as we mark World Polio Day I am calling on others to step up, follow Britain’s lead and make polio history.”

Polio was wiped out in the UK in the 1980s and there are more than 100,000 British survivors today. Globally, the wild poliovirus still exists in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, with 11 new cases this year.

This last push will help break the relentless cycle of poverty for millions more children so they can live healthier lives, go to school and find employment. It will mean more people contributing to their economy, which will help their countries to grow and become more prosperous.

To mark World Polio Day DFID is sharing stories about polio survivors who are supporting the UK’s last push to eliminate polio around the world. Myra James from Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, had polio as a child and is a supporter of the One Last Push campaign.

Doctors feared she would never walk again but thanks to the treatment she received in the UK in the 1950s. she made a good recovery and is able to continue her passion for tap-dancing. Myra talks about how she is backing the UK’s drive to end polio for good. Watch Myra’s story here.

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