Polio could be wiped out in East Africa by the millennium, thanks to a huge immunisation campaign funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).
Sixteen million children under five in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will be immunised over the next three years under the 18 million pound polio eradication project, effectively preventing all new cases of the disease.
The polio eradication project will be focused on strengthening systems for routine immunisation and nation-wide National Immunisation Days in August and September.
Announcing the project today at the Lambeth Conference, the Prime Minister said the project, where Britain is working in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), was a “concrete example” of Britain’s new approach towards international development – which puts access to healthcare at the heart of policy.
“DFID’s specific targets involve measurable progress against the key international development goals, bringing real improvement in the conditions of the poor”, he said.
“This project gives a whole generation of children the chance to lead healthier lives”.
The eradication of polio is estimated to cost $1billion. The World Heath Organisation estimates the saving from not having to vaccinate children or treat cases will be 1 billion pounds per year.