Abu Dhabi: Microsoft founder Bill Gates has praised the efforts of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces towards the eradication of polio.
Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “The world’s historic progress to #endpolio would not be possible without the strong commitment of partners like Mohammad Bin Zayed and the UAE.”
Gates made the remarks on Twitter following the launch of the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023, which will guide the programme and its partners to overcome the final hurdles to eradication and move toward sustaining a polio-free future.
In support of the strategy and to encourage additional commitments, a pledging event will be hosted this November at the ‘Reaching the Last Mile Forum’ in Abu Dhabi, a gathering of leaders from across the global health space held once every two years.
The event will be hosted with the support of Shaikh Mohammad, a long-time champion of the polio programme.
The 2019-2023 Endgame Strategy builds on the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, which brought the world to the brink of polio eradication. Despite this impressive progress, the last steps to eradication have proved to be the most difficult. Wild poliovirus transmission continues in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks are ongoing in several countries across Africa and Asia.
To overcome these challenges, the new strategy must be fully implemented with sufficient resources and commitments from governments, donors, multilateral organisations, and local communities.
The Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 will be discussed at the upcoming 2019 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 20.