Polio hit our headlines in August 2016, with reports of 2 cases of poliovirus in Borno in Nigeria. There have subsequently been 2 further cases in Borno. July had marked the two-year anniversary of the last case of polio in Nigeria and, indeed, the African continent, but conflict and insecurity in the region have hampered immunisation efforts. Although this reminds us that countries need to remain vigilant and continue to immunise children until the virus is completely eradicated, it should not detract from the success of the steps taken so far to eradicate the disease.
This year, we are in a strong position to work towards eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history (after smallpox). Only three countries in the world recorded polio cases in 2016: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. This month, we are asking you to meet your MP and ask them to sign on to a joint letter to Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, urging the UK Government to do all it can to support the replenishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.