UAE signs Kigali Declaration to end neglected tropical diseases

For decades, the UAE leadership has been championing the efforts to fight NTDs


A Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 24 Jun 2022, 11:22 AM

Last updated: Fri 24 Jun 2022, 11:30 AM

UAE has inked the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) during a summit hosted by the Government of Rwanda on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs was held to identify opportunities for better integration across disease elimination efforts. Launched earlier this year on World NTD Day, the Kigali Declaration is a high-level political declaration aiming to mobilise political will, resources and action to end unnecessary suffering from NTDs river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attended the summit and signed the Kigali Declaration on behalf of the UAE. He represented His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE, and the Reaching the Last Mile initiative, which reflects His Highness’ philanthropic commitments to disease elimination.

For decades, the UAE leadership has been championing the efforts to fight NTDs. In 1990, the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, made a personal donation to The Carter Centre’s efforts to eradicate the NTD Guinea Worm disease. In 2017, Sheikh Mohamed launched a $100 million Reaching the Last Mile Fund initiative, which offers a proof of concept for eliminating river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Africa.

Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan said the signing of the Declaration represented another significant milestone in the UAE’s effort to end NTDs.

“We join global leaders in pledging to eliminate these diseases that are affecting millions of people in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Only through collaboration and partnership can we truly make significant progress on the journey toward ending NTDs. We are honoured to join the Government of Rwanda and our international partners to mark the next stage of that journey here in Kigali.”

Collective effort to end NTDs

The Kigali Declaration builds on the success of the ground-breaking 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which ended this year, and outlines a clear pathway to achieve the targets laid out by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2030 Roadmap on NTDs. Significant progress has been made on NTDs over the past several decades as a result of the collective work of donors, governments, and partner organisations, with 45 countries having eliminated at least one NTD so far.

“The UAE is a long-standing champion of NTD elimination. We are proud to continue the legacy of our late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and to reaffirm the commitment of our President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who believes that no one should suffer from a preventable disease. Much progress has been made on NTDs, and as a nation we are determined to continue to support elimination efforts and global movements such as the Kigali Declaration that can help raise awareness and mobilise resources. Our collective efforts will free communities from the burden of these devastating diseases while strengthening local health systems and securing a safer world for all.”

The Kigali Declaration was also signed by heads of state including Rwandan President, Paul Kagame; Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari; Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape; and President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan; along with other esteemed officials and partners.

The Declaration was developed through a collaborative and iterative process which included input from Reaching the Last Mile, as well as other key partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center, the END Fund and several endemic countries.

NTDs affect more than 1.7 billion people – often those living in remote, under-resourced communities, and without access to basic needs like clean water.


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