UAE is pioneer in combatting diseases: Director of WHO Polio Eradication Programme

ABU DHABI, Dr. Hamid Jafari, Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organisation, WHO, Eastern Mediterranean Region, stated that the UAE plays a pioneering role in health issues, both within the region and globally, and most notably in combatting polio.

In a statement to Al Ittihad on the occasion of World Polio Day, Jaafari said, “There are many key examples of the UAE’s global pioneering role in benefitting the public.”

“These examples include the continuous support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the polio eradication efforts, especially his financial assistance, as well as the direct support provided to Pakistan by the UAE,” he added.

Jaafari described this investment as wise, as it not only protects Pakistani children and people, but also others, including Emirati citizens, as it reduces the worldwide risks posed by polio and other diseases.

Speaking about the cooperation between the WHO regional office and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MOHAP, in the UAE in the area of polio eradication and prevention, Jaafari noted, “The WHO regional office cooperates with MOHAP in several key initiatives, including the weekly reporting of polio cases in the country, in addition to close communication about the polio situation in the region.”

“MOHAP is exerting significant efforts to support regional solidarity in polio eradication. This year, the regional committee has decided to form a polio eradication sub-regional committee, to support of the regional efforts to help Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are the only two countries suffering from polio,” he added.

In his statement in today’s edition of Al Bayan, Dr. Jaafari said that the region is the only one suffering from the uncontrolled spread of the polio virus, and Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries to record infections, while Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are suffering from a mutated form of the virus.

He also said that reported polio cases in 2020 reached 132 in 18th October, with 53 cases in Afghanistan and 79 in Pakistan, while in 2019, 179 cases were reported, including 29 in Afghanistan and 147 in Pakistan.

He then lauded the efforts of the UAE to combat the disease and support global efforts aimed at offering vaccines to vulnerable communities around the world, stating, “The UAE is not only leading and inspiring the region, in terms of polio eradication, but also the rest of the world. The UAE has been committed to this global humanitarian approach for many years and has supported Pakistan, and the two countries have close ties.”

“The UAE’s investment in the polio eradication programme is key to Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. For example, the information management systems at polio eradication emergency operations centres in Pakistan are also responsible for analysing coronavirus data and other health information that are important to the national decision-making process,” he further added.

On the vaccination campaigns taking place in the region in 2020, Dr. Jaafari said that they were launched at the start of the year, but were halted for four months after the outbreak of the pandemic.

On the re-launch of polio vaccination campaigns in the East Mediterranean region, he noted that Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia have resumed their campaigns after a four-month stoppage, while Sudan is about to begin the vaccination campaign.


Source: Emirates News Agency

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