NEW YORK // Abu Dhabi health chiefs have donated US$25 million (Dh91m) to boost UN efforts to combat malaria, following setbacks to a programme designed to rid the Arabian Peninsula of the mosquito-borne killer by 2015. The Government of Abu Dhabi's grant will support the work of the UN's Roll Back Malaria Partnership over the next five years and bolster efforts to eradicate the parasite infection from its last regional stronghold: Yemen. While the UAE has been malaria-free since 1997, experts have struggled to wipe out the disease in Yemen and bordering areas of Saudi Arabia, where fighting between rebel and government forces has disturbed mosquito-spraying programmes. Plans to eradicate malaria from the peninsula by 2015 were recently abandoned, but Zaid al Siksek, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Health Authority, said the new target date of 2020 was "achievable" and pledged to help Yemen get "back on the programme". "This money is more than a financial contribution - it is a humanitarian contribution," said Mr al Siksek. "It will signal to other countries that we are doing the right thing and will hopefully be the beginning of a much larger contribution from not just ourselves but from all Arab countries."
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