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Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Joins Global Leaders in Pledging Additional Support for Fight to Eradicate Polio

June 12, 2017

Since 2013, UAE Committed $150 Million to Deliver Vaccines in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria

Washington, DC (12 June 2017) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba joined Gates Foundation Co-Chairman Bill Gates and other members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Atlanta, Georgia to announce a $30 million gift from the Government of the UAE that will help drop the level of global polio infections down to zero. The gift was announced at the Rotary International Convention, along with representatives from other donor nations, such as Canada, Germany, Japan, and the European Commission.

The partnership between the UAE government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began in 2011, when the UAE began working with the Foundation to promote public health by supporting the distribution of various vaccines, including polio. Since then, the UAE’s support has contributed $150 million to the effort, resulting in the delivery of more than 158 million polio vaccination doses across Pakistan, and decreasing the rate of infection across the country by more than 60 percent. The UAE also contributed to vaccination efforts in Syria, in response to a 2013 polio outbreak that has since been contained.

In 2013, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Bill Gates co-hosted the first Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, resulting in a total of $4 billion in commitments for polio eradication.

“The UAE is proud to be a leader in the effort to end polio and looks forward to a future in which every child and every country around the world is able to experience the full economic and health benefits of polio eradication,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “My country has a long tradition of supporting humanitarian relief projects around the world, and we are honored to partner with the Gates Foundation in the area of global public health,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “Through our collective efforts, we are improving the lives of children worldwide, and looking forward to a future without polio.”

To date, the polio virus remains in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has recently re-emerged in Nigeria, which was declared free of polio in 2015. The gift from the UAE will help medical professionals provide much-needed polio vaccinations and medical treatments to the most vulnerable children in these countries.

The UAE’s gift is in line with ongoing humanitarian efforts across the world and aligns with the country’s 2017 “Year of Giving,” declared by UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE has played a major role in international crises and other philanthropic projects and it one of the world's largest donors of foreign aid in proportion to its gross national product, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In line with the UAE’s ongoing commitment to providing humanitarian assistance for vulnerable children around the world, the country has emerged as a leader in the fight against polio. Learn more about the UAE’s dedicated efforts to eradicate polio