Abu Dhabi: $22.5 million boost for Reaching the Last Mile Fund campaign

The investment will help eliminate NTDs in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan


Ashwani Kumar

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Photo: SUpplied
Photo: SUpplied

Published: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:58 AM

A US-based charitable trust will invest $22.5 million to the UAE's Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF), a 10-year initiative to eliminate two devastating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) — river blindness and lymphatic filariasis — in African countries.

Over the next three years, the investment by the Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust will help eliminate NTDs in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Administered by the END Fund, the RLMF is a $100-million fund launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Walter Panzirer, a trustee at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said Sheikh Mohamed has been the catalyst who brought all partners together in this noble initiative.

"This is our first major collaboration in the UAE. We have been partners with the End Fund and the Legatum Group in the past for other NTD elimination in other regions of Africa.

"We were introduced to the Crown Prince Court and His Highness' fund. He was really the catalyst who brought everybody together," Panzirer told Khaleej Times at the Abu Dhabi Youth Hub.

"Our focus will be on Ethiopia and its border countries. We have been working there for the last 10 years. This is a much bigger platform for what we are already doing.

"We have an ambitious goal to eliminate NTDs in Ethiopia in the three-year time frame. With powerful partners, it can be done." Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, appreciated the investment by the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

"We look forward to accelerating progress on ending NTDs with this significant new commitment. Helmsley shares the UAE's long-held values of helping those in need and empowering people to live healthier and more dignified lives."


Alan McCormick, a partner at Legatum and a board member of the END Fund, said the investment comes at an especially important moment in the fight against NTDs.

"With the elimination of NTDs not only in sight, but possible within our lifetimes, we must act with urgency and inspire more people to invest in this movement.

"The END Fund is proud to provide a flexible funding platform that creates greater leverage, reduces risk for investors, and supports governments and local partners in their NTD elimination efforts."

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