UAE helps vaccinate more than 102 million children against polio in Pakistan

583 million doses of the polio vaccine have been administered since 2014

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The Emirates has helped vaccinate more than 102 million children against polio in Pakistan in the past eight years, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme announced on Saturday.

More than 583 million doses of polio vaccine were administered from 2014 to the end of September 2021, as part of the UAE Polio Vaccination campaign.

This announcement came ahead of World Polio Day on Sunday.

The programme was launched by the directive of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, with the support of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Polio is caused by the poliovirus, which attacks the spinal cord and causes paralysis.

Since 2011, Sheikh Mohamed has donated $250 million to humanitarian and charity efforts aimed at providing vaccines and financing polio eradication campaigns.

Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said the UAE represents "an exemplary role model in polio control and eradication".

Officials in Pakistan said the country has its best chance ever to stamp out polio, after a surprise drop in cases possibly caused by Covid lockdowns over the past year.

The world's fifth-most populous country has seen cases drop to almost nothing only a year after international monitors warned its eradication programme was performing badly and heading for disaster.

Dr Shahzad Baig, who co-ordinates Pakistan's national operations centre for polio eradication, said the signs were “very, very positive”.

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Updated: October 23, 2021, 2:53 PM