UAE administers over 28m polio vaccine doses in Pakistan amid Covid-19

Filed on October 23, 2020

Photo: Wam

The campaign has delivered more than 483 million polio vaccines, reaching 86 million children across Pakistan.

Even as Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill, the UAE has stayed committed to eradicating polio. Over 28 million vaccine doses have been administered in Pakistan between July And September, reaching more than 16 million kids, the Emirates Polio Campaign (EPC) announced on Friday, ahead of World Polio Day.

Recently, the EPC had completed the world’s first polio vaccination campaign since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Launched in 2014, the EPC is part of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme, which was launched under the directives of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to provide help and humanitarian assistance to the people of Pakistan and support their development initiatives.

The campaign works in cooperation with the Pakistani Armed Forces, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Pakistani Ministry of National Health Services, and Ministries of Health offices in provincial governments.

Since its launch, the campaign has delivered more than 483 million polio vaccines, reaching 86 million children across Pakistan.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, director of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme, said: "The Emirates Polio Campaign reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s commitment to strengthen global cooperation to prevent the spread of polio and protect children from this preventable disease. Since its founding, the EPC has accomplished a tremendous amount in reaching millions of children with this critical vaccination. We know there is still work ahead in our goal of ensuring every child has a chance at a healthy future and we remain committed to the last mile in eradicating this disease."

Overcoming pandemic challenge

Earlier this year, vaccination programmes around the world were halted due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 and many leaders in the health community warned of a potential new polio crisis. However, the Emirates Polio Campaign overcame these new challenges and was the first programme in the world to resume polio vaccinations.

Since resuming vaccination campaigns in July, the EPC has also taken a strong role in protecting and educating the communities they serve about Covid-19.

In July and August, frontline health workers distributed hundreds of thousands of masks and sanitisers to homes as well as health facilities. In addition, through the frontline health worker network, the EPC distributed a suite of videos and other digital materials on Covid-19 prevention using WhatsApp and social media platforms.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has committed more than US$250 million to eradicate the disease, and in 2019 hosted the Global Polio Eradication Initiative pledging moment at the Reaching the Last Forum, which raised more than US$2.8 billion.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club, World Polio Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the urgent need to eradicate polio. This year, the eighth annual World Polio Day will be held on October 24.

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