The UAE has assigned a total of 23 million US Dollars funding for polio campaigns.
The World Health Organization (WHO), on behalf of the Polio Eradication Initiative, made the announcement declaring the funding will be utilised during 2021, as well as around 376,000 US Dollars for the procurement of frontline worker personal protective equipment for protection against COVID-19 in 84 highest-risk districts.
It will enable the polio programme to maintain momentum to implement monthly polio campaigns targeting 16 million children in the highest-risk districts of Pakistan. Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates has contributed over US$ 200 million to polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
Speaking on behalf of the Polio Eradication Initiative partners, Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan, thanked United Arab Emirates for their generous contribution, saying the "United Arab Emirates has firmly stood by the polio programme, with vital yearly contributions and responding to pleas for extra funding to address unforeseen challenges such as COVID-19".
Pakistan has reported only 1 wild polio case in the first 6 months of the year. This is a significant decrease, over 98 percent, compared to 59 cases during the same period last year. The Government of Pakistan is fully committed to getting the country to zero wild polio cases over the coming months. To be certified as polio-free, Pakistan is required to report that there are no children affected by the wild poliovirus over a period of 3 years.
United Arab Emirates continues its role through its Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP). In 2020, UAE-PAP support ensured that close to 16 million children under 5 years received protection through repeated polio campaigns as part of the umbrella Emirates Polio Campaign and all frontline workers in 84 districts received personal protective equipment and training to facilitate protection from COVID-19.