ABU DHABI // The UAE has been recognised for its part in the battle against polio by the World Health Organisation.
Millions of children have been given polio vaccines under schemes led by the UAE.
In a report published on its official website, the WHO praised the UAE for its pivotal role in the battle against the delibitating disease.
It lauded the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa and the initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
According to the WHO, under the UAE’s Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE Pap), more than 15.5 million children across Pakistan’s highest-risk districts were innoculated against polio.
Michel Thieren, the WHO’s representative to Pakistan, said the continuous support of UAE Pap has enabled the WHO to continue strengthening its capacity and outreach in the most inaccessible parts of Pakistan.
“Much of the recent success in Pakistan is owed to innovative practices and outreach strategies that the programme is turning to in the last mile.”
Without the generous and ongoing support of donors such as the UAE, the programme would be lacking what it needs to push through to the end, Mr Thieren said.
“Emirates Polio Campaign was launched under directives from Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed to support Pakistan eradicating the disease,” said Mr Thieren.
“In the first five months of this year, more than 10.5 million children received repeated doses of polio drops in the campaigns supported by UAE Pap.”
He described the director of the UAE Pap, Abdullah Al Ghafli, as a polio eradicator for his years of commitment to eliminating the virus in Pakistan.
“In 2013, Sheikh Mohammed gave out Dh440 million for polio eradication,” he said.
In July, UAE Pap announced a further Dh30.5m contribution for 66 high-risk districts in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is close to entering the final stages of what will be a major milestone in global health: the interruption of polio.”