x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE polio donation lauded

A top US official has praised Sheikh Mohammed's donation of US$50 million to fight polio.

DUBAI // The US health secretary yesterday praised the UAE's US$50 million (Dh183.6m) donation to fight polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The money will go to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) to deliver polio vaccines in the two countries, which are among only four in the world where polio is endemic.

Kathleen Sebelius, the US health and human services secretary, lauded the donation made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to the Child Polio Eradication Programme in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the state news agency WAM.

An equal sum of $50m has been allocated to the programme by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Both donations were recognised yesterday during a meeting of the donor countries for the Child Polio Eradication Programme held on the sidelines of the WHO general assembly meeting in Geneva.

The 2010 annual report adopted by the WHO, Unicef and the Polio Eradication Programme revealed that the UAE had also provided $300,000 through the Red Crescent Association to purchase oral vaccines for children during the recent floods in Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, the Minister of Health, Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, and Bill Gates, the chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as ministers of donor countries.

Mrs Sebelius recognised the UAE's efforts to help combat diseases such as polio in countries around the world. She noted the recent donation and provision of vaccines by Sheikh Mohammed.

Dr Hassan said the leadership of the UAE was keen to ensure a flow of aid to countries in need.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation also welcomed the donations by Sheikh Mohammed and Mr Gates.

balqabbani@thenational.ae