Mohamed Ali Al Ansari (left) and Bill Gates during their meeting in Dubai on Sunday Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE-based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have pledged $10 million (around Dh36.7 million) through the foundation’s matching programme to support humanitarian healthcare programmes in the Middle East and Africa region.

The announcement came during a meeting held in Dubai between Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Gates Foundation, and Mohamed Ali Al Ansari, chairman of Al Ansari Exchange, to discuss the importance of supporting global efforts to improve healthcare and the important role philanthropists play in powering such programmes in different parts of the world.

Targeting tropical diseases, polio

The focus of this pledge will be to reduce inequities in health by developing new tools and strategies to reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases, which affect more than 1.7 billion of the world’s population residing in low-income communities in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Funding will be directed towards the ‘Reaching the Last Mile Fund’, a multi-donor initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and managed by The END Fund. The pledge will also support ongoing global efforts to eradicate polio. By supporting high-impact programmes with strong track-records for reaching some of the world’s hardest-to-reach populations, this collaboration can help millions of people live healthier lives and have higher prospects of moving them out of poverty.

Gates said: “It’s excellent to see this partnership come to fruition with Al Ansari Exchange. Together, we are committed to reducing inequities in healthcare. As we push toward the elimination of neglected tropical diseases and the eradication of polio, I’m pleased to renew our nearly decade-long collaboration with Al Ansari Exchange.”

Al Ansari said: “We always seek to establish strong, long-term partnerships with foundations and institutes, as we understand that consistency in strategy and direction is key to seeing a positive impact on communities in need. We are delighted to have the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as one of our global partners in this mission, and we will continue side-by-side in the efforts to combat poverty, disease and inequality around the world.”