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UAE Permanent Mission to UN in Geneva hosts event on polio eradication

GENEVA, 11th September, 2019 (WAM) -- The Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations Office in Geneva,UNOG, hosted an invitation-only event centered on polio eradication at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva yesterday.

This event was a precursor to a pledging moment that will be hosted at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi this November. The polio pledging moment supports the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 released by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,GPEI, earlier this year, detailing the resources needed to reach eradication by 2023.

An exhibition focused on polio will be displayed at WHO headquarters in Geneva throughout the week. It includes "Everyday Heroes", a photo series by Pakistani photographer Mobeen Ansari, featuring profiles of many of the healthcare workers behind Pakistan’s polio program. Ansari’s project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The exhibition also includes a short film and photos profiling the work of the Emirates Polio Program. To date, the programme has delivered 417 million polio drops to children under five years old. It has also reached 16 million children in Pakistan and has mobilised 106,000 polio workers, vaccinators and healthcare workers.

Commenting at the event, Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations,UN, and Other International Organisations, delivered a speech in which he emphasised the leading role played the UAE under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and its partners in polio eradication and their commitment to innovation in health.

Al Zaabi also commended the work of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and his team in developing the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023, which aims to realise a world free of all polio viruses on a permanent basis.

On this occasion, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "This is a reminder that polio eradication is not a forgone conclusion the last mile is the hardest. This will take a determined and unrelenting effort from all of us. Global progress to end polio would not be possible without partners like the UAE. On behalf of our partners at the GPEI, I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the UAE – a long-time supporter of the polio programme – for agreeing to host the GPEI pledging event on 19 November."

Judith Diment, Chair of the Rotary International Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force, also spoke at the event and expressed her organisation's commitment to contributing actively to the Reaching the Last,RLM,Forum in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s dedication to disease elimination builds on the foundations laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates. Since 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has pledged more than US$ 167 million for polio eradication activities through the GPEI.

WAM/Nour Salman/Tariq alfaham