Bill Gates2019, Image: wikimedia commons, UNDER CC BY 2.0

Bill Gates commends UAE’s commitment to end polio

Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates applauded the efforts of the UAE authorities to end polio especially under the leadership and vision of Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

On Wednesday, Gates posted on Twitter: “The world#endpolio would not be possible without the strong commitment of partners like Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE.” Bill Gates’s comments came following the launch of the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 by Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) on Tuesday.the program is to guide its partners in overcoming complete eradication of the disease and to move towards free future. Polio is a highly infectious virus which get transmitted through person-to-person contact and primarily affects children. The virus, if not cured, can cause paralysis by damaging the nervous system. In 2013 Bill Gates and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan came together for the first time to fight the lethal disease.

Bill Gates

With the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023, GPEI hopes to use novel oral polio vaccines and adopt smartphone technologies eradicate the disease in the next five years.

Polio Endgame Strategy is an extension to the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, which brought the world to the brink of polio eradication. Despite the government’s continuous efforts to wipe out the wild poliovirus transmission it exits Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, and recurs in vaccine-derived countries across Africa and Asia. According to GPEI, few of the biggest hurdles that the authorities are combating mass migration due to war, weak health system and misleading claims spread by extremist groups like the Taliban who have rumored that the vaccination programmes actually an attempt at mass sterilisation.

The Polio Endgame Strategy discussed in detail at the recent 2019 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, to be held on 20th May. The program needs total funding of US$4.2 billion, of which US$3.27 billion yet to be raised by the GPEI. In order to encourage additional commitments, Abu Dhabi would be hosting a pledging event this November, called ‘Reaching the Last Mile Forum’. The event, which is held once in two years, provides a forum to bring together the world leaders from the health space and global philanthropist, investors and medical innovators.

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