Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, marked World Health Day by thanking the frontline health workers who helped to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“On World Health Day, we express our appreciation to all of the heroes who helped combat the pandemic,” said Sheikh Mohamed on Twitter.
“We also reaffirm the importance of international cooperation and continued investment in all aspects of health for a more sustainable future for humanity.”
The UAE has been widely praised for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to an organised and thorough vaccination drive and stringent precautionary measures.
Frontline workers were essential to the Emirates' robust response to the pandemic. A number of healthcare workers contracted the virus while carrying out their duties and some died as a result.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organisation, said in December that the UAE was one of the best countries in the world at dealing with the pandemic, owing to the speed and flexibility of the measures it had taken.
In July 2020, President Sheikh Khalifa launched the Frontline Heroes Office to recognise the efforts of people protecting the public in times of crisis.
The Frontline Heroes Office aims to raise awareness of the role played by frontline workers during crises and emergencies, while also looking after their needs, addressing their priorities and drawing up strategies to support them.
In October, Sheikh Mohamed directed authorities to issue golden visas to frontline workers and their families.
Medical staff and other essential personnel who worked on the front lines of the pandemic have also received help with schooling costs and other benefits and free flights home to visit their families.
World Health Day is held each year on April 7, marking the anniversary of the founding of the WHO in 1948. It draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
This year, the WHO will focus global attention on “urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being".