Video: UAE vaccinates 86 million Pakistani kids against polio

Abu Dhabi - Over half-a-billion doses of the polio vaccine administered in 7 years.

By Wam

Published: Sat 20 Feb 2021, 1:01 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Feb 2021, 1:03 PM

The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) has provided 508,092,472 doses of the polio vaccine to over 86 million children in Pakistan in seven years.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign managed to reach out to some 16 million children and provided over 52,515,000 doses since July 2020.

The campaign’s geographical coverage comprised 94 difficult to reach high-risk areas in Pakistan. In 34 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, local children received 267,254,084 doses of the vaccine.

In 33 areas of Balochistan Province, children received 78,690,114 doses of the vaccine; kids in Sindh Province received 148,568,085 doses; and in Punjab Province, 13,580,189 doses were administered.

Over 103,000 doctors, observers and members of vaccination teams, as well as over 82,000 security personnel and coordination teams, took part in the drive.

Mobile teams also managed to reach out to 22 camps of Afghan refugees on the international border checkpoints, where over 597,000 children were vaccinated.

The UAE Polio Vaccination Campaign was carried out in Pakistan from 2014 to the end of 2020 as part of an initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Since 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has donated $247.8 million to humanitarian and charity efforts aimed at providing vaccines and financing polio eradication campaigns, most notably in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of UAE PAP, said the campaign’s success underscores the UAE’s leading role in helping protect communities from diseases, pandemics, crises and disasters.

Al Ghafli pointed out that the humanitarian vision of Sheikh Mohamed and his generous donations are key factors in eradicating polio around the world.

He stressed that the polio eradication initiative of Sheikh Mohamed also helped create "positive global humanitarian alliances and strategic partnerships between governments and UN agencies". These include 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.

Campaign scope

The official said the campaign covers 94 areas every month, which account for 59 per cent of Pakistan’s total landmass serving over 16 million Pakistani children.

Children in these areas are in constant need of vaccines throughout the year, due to malnutrition and weak immunity.

The official website of the WHO for the Eastern Mediterranean noted that the number of global polio infections decreased in 2020 to 140 cases, including 84 in Pakistan and 56 in Afghanistan.

The WHO says that the world had significant progress in reducing polio infection by 99.9 per cent over the past 30 years.

The campaign explained

The UAE PAP was launched on January 12, 2011, on the directives of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

It aimed to help Pakistan overcome the consequences of the destructive torrential rains by rehabilitating its infrastructure and provide humanitarian assistance.

The project follows a comprehensive plan of rehabilitation that takes into account the rugged geographical topography and harsh weather conditions.

The plan has four main pivots to rehabilitate the area and secure community development: Roads and bridges, education, health and safe drinking water supply schemes. It also offers humanitarian assistance to the unprivileged, poor and homeless.

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