UAE to continue initiatives to create a world free from disease

Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, asserted that the UAE will continue its multilateral initiatives to create a world free from disease.
He made this statement during the opening of the Global Health Forum, titled, “Reaching the Last Mile: Mobilising Together to Eliminate Infectious Diseases,” which was held in Abu Dhabi, 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.
The Forum saw the participation of over 200 prominent figures, including government officials, leaders of relief organisations, international health experts and leaders of the international health sector, who exchanged their points of view and the best international practices to prepare effective plans to locate and eradicate major diseases.
The Forum also showcased the considerable efforts of workers in general health to combat diseases that threaten lives in affected countries while supporting international initiatives to fight infectious diseases, through building new partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Al Owais stated that the UAE’s exceptional location as a link between the East and West has strengthened its mission to offer humanitarian assistance to various parts of the world, as well as its ongoing multilateral initiatives to create a world free from disease while affirming the necessity of investing in such international efforts.
He added that the UAE’s role, in co-operation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Centre and the World Health Organisation, has the strategic goal of eliminating diseases that threaten humanity and saving people from their cycle of danger.
Al Owais pointed out that the eradication of smallpox and cholera was not expected in the 1970s. “We today can say that guinea worm disease and polio will face the same fate and will be completely eradicated,” he added.
He also explained that the rate of infection from these diseases has considerably decreased during the last 15 years, and the UAE is a major player in achieving this accomplishment.
Dr. Maha Barakat, Advisor to the Executive Office of the Abu Dhabi Government and Member of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board, confirmed, in her speech that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan began the UAE’s journey of humanitarian giving over 30 years ago, when the country pledged to support the international efforts to eradicate such diseases, after a partnership was made with the Carter Centre to eliminate guinea worm disease.
The UAE leadership’s commitment to disease elimination began in 1990 when the founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, made an early $5.77 million contribution to global efforts to eradicate Guinea worm, led by The Carter Centre. It has continued since through a series of contributions from President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed.
Since 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed has personally pledged US$250 million to support international efforts to eliminate and control deadly diseases, including $205 million to support the global campaign to eliminate polio and the “Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,” as well as $30 million to support the efforts to eradicate malaria and $15 million to eradicate guinea worm disease, she added.