Abu Dhabi - The UAE has long been recognised as a champion for eradication efforts.
The UAE has renewed its commitment to polio eradication ahead of the World Polio Day that is marked annually on October 24. The day recognises global efforts to eradicate the highly infectious disease that mainly affects children under the age of five.
The UAE has long been recognised as a champion for eradication efforts. Thanks to its various initiatives, over 400 million children around the world have received the vital vaccines to prevent the disease.
Since the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted that wild polio cases have decreased by over 99 percent, with 33 cases reported in 2018.
Led by the initiatives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE has actively contributed to financing and supporting critical vaccination campaigns.
Since 2014, the Initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for Global Polio Eradication has helped provide over 71 million children in Pakistan with vital polio vaccines. According to the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) - which partners with the Sheikh Mohamed polio initiative - 418.9 million drops of polio vaccines were delivered to Pakistani children from 2014 and up until September 2019.
Since 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has personally donated $167.8 million to support global efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis, with a focus on remote regions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In April 2018, the UAE fulfilled its $120 million funding pledge to the GPEI made at the 2013 Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi.
He also collaborated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2011, where the two parties committed a total of $100 million for the purchase and delivery of vital vaccines to vulnerable Afghan and Pakistani children.
Polio eradication in Pakistan
The UAE PAP programme spans the four provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan, and Sindh. Now in its sixth phase, the UAE PAP has administered polio vaccines to some 15-16 million children per month in 2019. These efforts saw a collective movement of 106,000 physicians, observers, and vaccination teams come together with over 25,000 security and coordination teams to be able to reach the 103 polio stronghold areas in Pakistan.