UK efforts to stop wild polio in Africa have contributed to the continent being officially declared free from the disease, which can kill or maim children for life.
The announcement by the WHO follows no new wild polio cases being registered across the continent for four years. Just 25 years ago polio was paralysing an estimated 75,000 children a year in Africa.
The UK is one of the top donors to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which has vaccinated millions of children against polio in the world’s poorest countries.
Support from the UK has helped 220 million children across 47 countries in Africa
Last year, the UK committed funding to vaccinate more than 400 million children against polio across the world every year until 2023.
In June, the Prime Minister hosted the Global Vaccine Summit which raised over $8.8bn to vaccinate 300 million more children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases including measles, polio and cholera.
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Now, every country in Africa is free from the disease – in large part thanks to UK aid– so no child need suffer again.