Nearly 280 million lifesaving tablets are likely to expire and have to be incinerated due to the withdrawal of UK money, the United Nations agency said.

The UK’s annual foreign aid budget has been reduced from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income, a cut of almost £4bn.

Ministers say £10bn will be still spent in 2021, with £1.3bn on global health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has joined many other agencies in warning about the impact of the Treasury’s decision to cut foreign aid this year.

In a submission to the International Development Committee – which is conducting an inquiry into the future of UK aid – the WHO said the cuts would leave millions of the world’s poorest people at risk from so-called “neglected tropical diseases”.

These include elephantiasis, trachoma and Guinea Worm and are among 20 disease groups that mainly affect people in the poorest countries.

They are preventable but without treatment the WHO said they “kill, blind, disfigure and maim”.

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