The WHO EMRO Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks commended the unwavering support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to eradicate polio and the funding he provides in this respect.
The committee also hailed the painstaking efforts being made by the UAE to combat polio at regional and global levels as part of the Emirates Polio Campaign and the UAE's humanitarian support for Afghanistan and Pakistan to eradicate polio.
This came during the second meeting of the Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks, which was held virtually and was co-chaired by the UAE and Egypt, in the presence of His Excellency AbdulRahman bin Mohamad Al Owais, Minister of Health, Her Excellency Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, His Excellency Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Through this participation, the UAE aims to coordinate joint efforts to combat polio, support preventive health programs, and strengthen the immunization system against this disease.
Enhancing joint efforts
His Excellency AbdulRahman bin Mohamed Al Owais commended the unwavering support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces since 2011 to eradicate polio at the global level. The minister added his highness's support for the resumption of campaigns and the delivery of vaccines hasn't been stopped despite the Covid-19 outbreak, which clearly reflects his highness's commitment to extending a helping hand to millions of people to enjoy a healthy and decent life.
Al Owais stressed the importance of the meetings of the regional subcommittee on polio eradication, lauding the fruitful discussions of countries reports in order to come up with recommendations that contribute to addressing this disease and enhancing the efforts being made to keep the region free of polio.
He added: "The UAE's efforts to combat polio have gone beyond local and regional levels. Since 1994, the UAE has been providing unstinting support and aid worldwide to eliminate the disease, in coordination and cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Emirates Red Crescent Authority."
The Health Minister continued to say that the UAE, under the support and guidance of the wise leadership, has given the national polio eradication program the utmost importance, as being one of the most important national health milestones. He underlined that the ministry of health works hard to maintain what has been achieved in this regard by establishing a strong and effective system to monitor and investigate cases of polio coming from outside the country in a timely manner.
An advanced model
For his part, Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand stated that the UAE has provided an advanced global model in eradicating polio and has achieved outstanding results in tackling this disease. He noted that the country adopts accurate scientific methods in terms of implementing preventive measures and handling suspected cases.
Al Rand affirmed that MoHAP is committed to carrying out WHO recommendations in order to raise the strategic indicator of the percentage of children's coverage of immunizations (vaccinations) in the first year. The ministry also constantly develops all medical and technical staff in order to get them acquainted with the latest updates in the immunization and prevention field, he noted.
No Polio Cases Since 1992
He noted that no polio cases have been reported in the UAE since 1992, thanks to the vigorous efforts made by MoHAP and other health authorities to implement an effective polio surveillance system and vaccinations coverage while continuing to take all the precautions and measures to eliminate this disease.
The UAE has been declared a polio-free country in 2007, something that wouldn't have been possible hadn't been for the unwavering support of the wise leadership in the field of disease prevention and provision of world-class healthcare services, he concluded.
The Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks includes in its membership the ministers of health of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.