Just 22 cases of polio were reported last year, a decrease of more than 99 per cent since 1988. Mobeen Ansari
Just 22 cases of polio were reported last year, a decrease of more than 99 per cent since 1988. Mobeen Ansari

The eradication of polio is finally within our grasp



Last year just 22 cases of polio were reported to the World Health Organisation. This represents a tremendous victory against a cruel disease that in 1988 claimed 350,000 victims − mainly children under five − in 125 countries. Today, thanks to the success of a decades-long international vaccine programme, it retains a foothold in only three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. World Polio Day tomorrow, however, serves as a reminder that it is not yet time to celebrate.

The impact of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, an unprecedented 30-year partnership of governments, institutions and other partners launched in 1988, cannot be overstated and demonstrates the power of collaboration under visionary leadership.

The UN estimates that the lives of 1.5 million children have been saved and that there are 16 million people walking the earth today who would otherwise have been paralysed by the disease for life.

All this, however, could be undone so long as a single child anywhere in the world remains infected with the polio virus.

If imported into a polio-free country, poliomyelitis could spread rapidly among unimmunised populations and the UN predicts that failure to completely eradicate the disease could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year within the next 10 years.

There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with a vaccine which, administered multiple times, can protect against it for life.

Thanks to a range of factors, from violence and social unrest to cultural and religious barriers, thousands of children remain unvaccinated the countries where it is still a threat. So long as they do, millions more around the world are at risk.

In 2013 the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan was unveiled at a global vaccine summit in the UAE, a nation that has worked tirelessly to get vaccines to more than 57 million children.

Since 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has donated $167 million to support global programmes dedicated to ending the disease.

That goal may not yet have been achieved, but it is within our grasp. It is now crucial that the global community, philanthropists and business leaders come together and make the final push to eliminate polio once and for all.

Stamping out this crippling virus, which affects some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, is a moral imperative that transcends national borders and requires a collective effort.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

360Vuz PROFILE

Date started: January 2017
Founder: Khaled Zaatarah 
Based: Dubai and Los Angeles
Sector: Technology 
Size: 21 employees
Funding: $7 million 
Investors: Shorooq Partners, KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures, Hala Ventures, 500Startups, Plug and Play, Magnus Olsson, Samih Toukan, Jonathan Labin

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

The biog

Favourite pet: cats. She has two: Eva and Bito

Favourite city: Cape Town, South Africa

Hobby: Running. "I like to think I’m artsy but I’m not".

Favourite move: Romantic comedies, specifically Return to me. "I cry every time".

Favourite spot in Abu Dhabi: Saadiyat beach

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Bedu

Started: 2021

Founders: Khaled Al Huraimel, Matti Zinder, Amin Al Zarouni

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: AI, metaverse, Web3 and blockchain

Funding: Currently in pre-seed round to raise $5 million to $7 million

Investors: Privately funded

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Meydan race card

6pm Dubai Trophy – Conditions(TB)+$100,000 (Turf) 1,200m 

6.35Dubai Trophy – Conditions(TB) $100,000 (Turf) 1,200m
1,800m 

7.10pm Jumeirah Derby Trial – Conditions+(TB) $60,000+(T)
1,800m ,400m 

7.45pm Al Rashidiya – Group 2 (TB) +$180,000 (T) 1,800m 

8.20pm Al Fahidi Fort – Group 2 (TB)+$180,000 (T) 1,400m 

8.55pm Dubawi Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,200m 

9.30pm Aliyah – Rated Conditions (TB) $80,000 (D) 2,000m  

MATCH INFO

Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Ajax v Juventus, Wednesday, 11pm (UAE)

Match on BeIN Sports

FA Cup quarter-final draw

The matches will be played across the weekend of 21 and 22 March

Sheffield United v Arsenal

Newcastle v Manchester City

Norwich v Derby/Manchester United

Leicester City v Chelsea

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway

Director: Ashima Chibber 

Stars: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya and Jim Sarbh 

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

The Saudi Cup race card

1 The Jockey Club Local Handicap (TB) 1,800m (Dirt) $500,000

2 The Riyadh Dirt Sprint (TB) 1,200m (D) $1.500,000

3 The 1351 Turf Sprint 1,351m (Turf) $1,000,000

4 The Saudi Derby (TB) 1600m (D) $800,000

5 The Neom Turf Cup (TB) 2,100m (T) $1,000,000

6 The Obaiya Arabian Classic (PB) 2,000m (D) $1,900,000

7 The Red Sea Turf Handicap (TB) 3,000m (T) $2,500,000

8 The Saudi Cup (TB) 1,800m (D) $20,000,000

The Color Purple

Director: Blitz Bazawule
Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo
Rating: 4/5