UAE President reaffirms goal for a polio-free world
Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday reaffirmed that the UAE remains committed to continuing the fight towards achieving a polio-free world for all.
Tweeting on the occasion of World Polio Day (October 24), Sheikh Mohamed said: “On #WorldPolioDay I express my sincere gratitude to the many people, including health workers, whose dedication and hard work means an end to polio is in sight. Together with our partners, we remain committed to continuing the fight towards achieving a polio-free world for all.”
UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme
Also on the occasion, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) announced the results of the UAE Polio Vaccination Campaign carried out in Pakistan from 2014 to the end of September 2022, highlighting that the campaign succeeded in administering 647,758,365 doses of vaccination against polio over nine years in Pakistan, reported Emirates News Agency, WAM.
The move follows the directives of Sheikh Mohamed, and the follow-up of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, to offer humanitarian and development aid to Pakistan, support its health sector and launch related prevention programmes in the country.
In 2014, the campaign targeted 3 million children, bringing the number to 17 million children per month during 2022.
Since 2011, Sheikh Mohamed donated $376 million to humanitarian and charity efforts aimed at providing vaccines and financing polio eradication campaigns, most notably in countries targeted by his initiative, which are Pakistan and Afghanistan.
During the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE Polio Vaccination Campaign managed to provide 192,181,646 doses of the vaccine from July 2020 until September 2022.
Coverage in high-risk areas
The campaign’s geographical coverage comprised 85 hard-to-reach high-risk areas in Pakistan, and its scope included 35 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where local children received 326,953,462 doses of the vaccine, as well as 33 areas of Balochistan Province where children received 94,850,025 doses of the vaccine; 14 areas of Sindh Province where children received 192,241,029 doses and three areas in Punjab Province where children received 33,713,084 doses.
The programme noted that the field efforts to launch vaccination campaigns in various Pakistani provinces saw the participation of more than 103,000 doctors, observers and members of vaccination teams, as well as over 82,000 security personnel and coordination teams, who were focused on delivering vaccines to the targeted children. The campaign also allocated special vaccination teams to provide vaccines to more than 597,000 Afghan refugee children in 22 refugee camps.
UAE’s global impact
Speaking on the occasion of World Polio Day, Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, director of UAE PAP, attributed the success of the UAE Polio Vaccination Campaign to the leadership’s support for the campaign’s field efforts.
He said the UAE’s support for various global programmes and efforts to eradicate diseases is one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of the United Nation programmes for health care and had a direct and significant positive impact on improving the quality of life and the future of hundreds of millions of people across the world.
Al Ghafli added that the UAE’s global initiatives have contributed to creating positive global humanitarian alliances and strategic partnerships between governments and UN agencies, including the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and global charity organisations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Thus, the initiative raised the level of success rate in reaching the targeted children and increased the achievement rate in the countries targeted by vaccination campaigns.
He praised the efforts and sacrifices of vaccination teams comprising doctors, nurses and security personnel who faced dire field conditions and challenges, contributing to the programme’s success and outstanding achievement.
The director concluded by saying that World Polio Day represents a humanitarian message that includes commitment and international cooperation to protect innocent children and prevent them from diseases, especially polio, and to support the efforts and sacrifices of all contributors and workers in the field to achieve this humanitarian goal.