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14 April 2024

WHO Pakistan acknowledges UAE's contribution to polio eradication efforts

By Wam

On World Polio Day, which is marked on 24th October, Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, Head of World Health Organisation Office in Pakistan, has thanked the UAE for their contribution to Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio.

Thanks to the support of the Emirates Polio Campaign run by UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme, UAE-PAP, tens of millions of children have been vaccinated against polio since the launch of the Emirates Polio Campaign in 2014.

In 2017 alone, more than 12.8 million children of Pakistan’s high-risk areas benefited from the UAE's assistance through the administration of around 96 million polio drops. Between January and September 2018, with the UAE’s help, more than 92 million polio drops were given to around 13.5 million children in Pakistan.

Pakistan remains one of only three countries in the world where polio continues to circulate, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria. The country has registered an overall 97 percent drop in wild poliovirus cases since 2014 – cases consistently dropped from 306 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and only eight in 2017. So far this year, six cases have been reported from Pakistan.

Dr. Abid acknowledged that the generous support of the UAE has positively contributed to Pakistan’s progress in efforts to eradicate polio since 2014. He extended his deepest gratitude to the UAE and to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their unwavering commitment towards polio eradication campaigns in Pakistan.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's campaign in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a joint contribution of US$107 million between 2014 and 2018, to enhance immunity gaps through a series of well-planned, high-quality immunisation campaigns in the highest-risk districts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Sindh.

Dr. Abid said that the UAE is one of numerous partners who have played a vital role in Pakistan’s progress in the polio situation over the years. "With this support to Pakistan, I am confident the country will soon reach the goal of ending polio once and for all."

On World Polio Day, the world pays tribute to all partners who have contributed to the global efforts to eradicate polio including donors, partners, programme staff, frontline polio workers and volunteers, and security personnel.