Towards the end of 2019, many of us were planning for places to visit, people to meet and work with, and professional and personal growth to be achieved. All of this has changed due to one of the smallest organisms on earth jumping from one species to another. Since the beginning of 2020 and until this day, the Covid-19 global pandemic continues to be one of the largest and most complex global challenges in our times.
It has affected many people, countries and entities. In the same breath, it’s incredible to note how the world has come together to tackle this issue that transcends national borders, communities and continents.
Under one unified goal, countries around the world have worked tirelessly and taken the necessary actions to safeguard the health and well-being of all segments of their communities, by finding robust solutions that mitigate the impact of the pandemic and put humanity on recovery path. In Abu Dhabi, this work has been ongoing for the past 14 months, and the results of these efforts have been recognised globally for its evidence and data-based decision making, balanced approach and effectiveness in responding to the pandemic. Many global leaders attending the World Immunisation and Logistics Summit in Abu Dhabi last week has singled out the shining example of Abu Dhabi and UAE in dealing with this global crisis, while continuing to be a pillar of collaboration and support for humanity.
Driven by the continuous support of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi has faced the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic with resilience and determination, and it is no surprise seeing Abu Dhabi today being ranked first among 25 global cities in response to the pandemic according to the latest ranking issued by the London-based Deep Knowledge Group.
These prestigious global rankings are the product of effort and teamwork. Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector has proven its efficiency, the strength of its infrastructure, and the professionalism of its organisations and staff.
Pandemics, like other crises throughout history, have been valuable opportunities for accelerating scientific innovation and adopting new technologies, ways of thinking and processes. We have witnessed this when countries around the world came together to develop several safe and effective vaccines within 10 months from the outbreak of the pandemic.
Here in Abu Dhabi, we continue to be part of these efforts through the “4 Humanity” campaign that allowed more than 32,000 volunteers to be part of two of the largest successful global vaccine clinical trials. In parallel, we have put our human capital and infrastructure into developing and deploying solutions not only for Abu Dhabi and UAE, but to be extended to help other populations of the world.
We will also continue to invest in infrastructure, digital solutions, research and innovation to support the fight against the pandemic, and the future development of Abu Dhabi's health sector will continue to be shaped by our current and ongoing focus on scientific research and innovation. This was lately evident by the start of the first line of vaccine manufacturing in the UAE.
Our wise leadership has prioritised the safety of the UAE’s community by providing all members with the necessary health care and livelihood support throughout the pandemic. This national support has gone hand-in-hand with supporting the wider world, underpinned by the strong belief that no one is out of this pandemic until everyone is out of this pandemic. This was evident through the UAE’s humanitarian aid extended to over 250 international destinations, translating into over 80 per cent of total global aid, which was coming from the UAE.
The global co-operation in the fight against the pandemic is of paramount importance, and we believe that the Hope Consortium is a catalyst for even greater co-operation between partners worldwide. The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi is proud to be spearheading this effort and is a founding partner in the Hope Consortium, supporting the urgent distribution of and providing its equitable access worldwide.
We strongly believe that no one can overcome this crisis alone and international collaboration is the seed we plant today for a fruitful result. Together with our partners in the Hope Consortium, we have the capacity to handle over six billion doses of all different vaccines this year, and we are already increasing this capacity to over 18 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, to be delivered to people anywhere in the world. This capacity was built with an immediate global pooling of resources to respond to a global pandemic. This has also reflected Abu Dhabi’s vision to lead regionally and globally in world-class quality of care and life science sector investment. We are open to the world and to serve the world.
We look forward to using this platform as a springboard to foster more partnerships in the near future. Through collaboration and innovation, we look forward to paving the way towards a more resilient, healthy and prosperous future for humanity, allowing us all to resume our plans to meet new people, visit new places and build on the growth with the resilience that we have developed last year.
Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohamed Al Hamed is Chairman of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi