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UK to cut funding for polio eradication by 95%

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The UK has pledged $ 1.6 billion since 1985 in the fight against polio, according to Devex.

A spokesperson for FCDO said: “The UK is a world leader in international development. In 2020, we were the third largest aid donor in the world, spending £ 14.5 billion.

“The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to make difficult but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on aid. We will continue to spend over £ 10 billion this year on fight poverty and fight climate change, and improve global health.

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“We are working on what that means for individual programs. Decisions will be announced in due course.”

The cut in funding comes as the international polio eradication campaign struggles to eradicate the disease in its remaining haunts.

Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are the only two countries where the polio virus is still endemic. Yet efforts have stalled amid violence, suspicion of vaccines and mismanagement.

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has further hampered campaigns.

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Pakistan has experienced both stubbornly high numbers of wild polioviruses and an increasing incidence of new vaccine-derived strains over the past year. The country recorded a total of 167 cases in 2020, up from 12 just two years earlier.

Conspiracy theories and false health scares have left some parents reluctant to have their children vaccinated.

In Afghanistan, millions of children have not been reached after the Taliban banned door-to-door vaccination campaigns in the territory they control. Insurgents accused health workers of acting as spies for drone strikes and special forces raids.

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The decree created a large pool of vulnerable and unvaccinated children where the virus could start a riot.

Attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to regain access have so far failed. Campaigners will only agree to allow vaccinators to distribute drops to central points such as village mosques, but epidemiologists say that is not enough to reach everyone.

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