UAE-funded program helps vaccinate 86 million children in Pakistan against polio

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Polio eradication efforts led by the UAE Pakistan Assistance program (UAE PAP) has led to more than 500 million doses of the polio vaccine administered to more than 86 million children in Pakistan over seven years.

The program – launched by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – is part of a global effort to rid the world of polio.

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Sheikh Mohammed has donated $247.8 million towards the global cause - with a special emphasis on Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to state news agency Wam.

Between 2014 to the end of 2020, the campaign in Pakistan has succeeded in reaching out to over 86 million children and provided 508,092,472 doses of the polio vaccine.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign continued its humanitarian efforts, reaching out to some 16 million children and providing more than 52,515,000 doses since July 2020.

The campaign’s geographical coverage comprised 94 difficult to reach high-risk areas in Pakistan.

A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 16, 2018. (AP)
A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 16, 2018. (AP)

Its scope included 34 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where local children received 267,254,084 doses of the vaccine, as well as 33 areas of Balochistan Province where children received 78,690,114 doses of the vaccine, 24 areas of Sindh Province where children received 148,568,085 doses and three areas in Punjab Province where children received 13,580,189 doses.

Vaccination campaigns across several Pakistani provinces saw the participation of more than 103,000 doctors, observers and members of vaccination teams, as well as over 82,000 security personnel and coordination teams.

Mobile teams also have managed to reach out to 22 camps of Afghan refugees on the international border checkpoints where more 597,000 Afghan children were vaccinated.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, director of UAE PAP, said that the campaign’s success in providing over 500 million vaccine doses over seven years reflects the excellence and efficiency of the UAE’s humanitarian efforts and initiatives, adding that he humanitarian vision of Sheikh Mohamed and his donations have supported international efforts in eradicating polio around the world.

The polio eradication initiative of Sheikh Mohammed also helped create positive global humanitarian alliances and strategic partnerships between governments and UN agencies, including the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and global charity organizations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he added.

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