As little as 30 years ago, polio ravaged countries around the world. But now, the disease is 99.9% eradicated. Global Citizens took over 481,000 actions calling on decision makers to wipe out the last 0.1%, and this week, we handed in your signatures to the UK government.
Your voices were heard. Today, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced that they will commit £100 million in UK aid towards eradicating polio completely! This funding will immunise up to 45 million children against the disease annually, saving more than 65,000 children from paralysis each year until 2020 — by which time the world could be polio-free.
We are now closer than ever to making polio the second human disease in history to be eradicated. In the last 30 years, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has brought life-saving vaccines to over 2.5 billion children. As a result, the number of new polio cases each year has decreased from 350,000 in 1988 to just 37 in 2016!
This is incredible, and would not have been possible without support from donors like the UK. But some media outlets are putting future commitments like this at risk, with relentless and unjustified attacks on UK aid. Now more than ever, we need to show the UK government that the public supports life-saving commitments like this one.
Show the UK government that you support international aid. Thank DFID for helping to end polio for good.