Dubai: Al Ansari Exchange, a foreign exchange and remittance company in the UAE, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a partnership of $10 million (Dh36.72 million) in support of two major health priorities — polio eradication and treatment and the prevention of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

The agreement, which was jointly signed in Abu Dhabi by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation and Mohammad Ali Al Ansari, chairman of the board of Al Ansari Exchange, will kick off with an initial co-funded contribution of $4 million to support polio eradication activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will also support the prevention and treatment of NTDs in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The partnership we signed today is an example of focused, strategic philanthropy that will have a lasting impact on the lives of families living in the poorest parts of the world,” said Bill Gates.

Al Ansari also stressed on the initiative’s global plans. “We are pleased to partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this project, which will benefit millions of people and hundreds of communities from different countries.”

The agreement which is also administered through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative will use its initial funds towards improving polio vaccination campaign quality.

The NTD funding will be administered through the END Fund, the world’s first private philanthropic initiative to combat the seven most common NTDs in Africa. It will target 12 million people, including 3 million children of school-going age in Mali. Worldwide, NTDs affect more than one billion of the world’s poorest people, including 500 million children. By supporting the delivery of drugs for the most common NTDs, the collaboration can help millions of people live healthier lives and lift themselves out of poverty.