ABU DHABI, 24th October, 2018 (WAM) — The humanitarian and development initiatives launched by the UAE leadership have helped humanity across the globe and made a positive difference in the lives of millions of people, especially children, an editorial in a local English language daily has said.
“As countries mark the World Polio Day on Wednesday, the overwhelming success of the UAE-funded Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) which has helped reduce the number of polio cases in Pakistan from 306 cases in 2014 to four cases in October 2018, a decrease of 98 percent as per Project Director Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, deserves special mention and appreciation,” said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Wednesday.
“Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, has rightly commended the UAE’s efforts and financial contributions towards eradicating the polio virus and saving millions of children in Pakistan and other nations.”
The editorial added, “Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio continues to circulate, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria.”
In 2017 alone, more than 12.8 million children of Pakistan’s high-risk areas benefited from the UAE’s assistance through the administration of around 96 million polio drops. Between January and September 2018, with the UAE’s help, more than 92 million polio drops were given to around 13.5 million children in Pakistan, the paper noted.
“Preparing for the campaign was certainly not an easy task. It required difficult field studies and putting in place innovative plans to overcome challenges and field problems, the most difficult of which was bringing about a change in mindsets and beliefs in the community about vaccines. The vaccination teams deserve special praise for their dedication,” it said.
It continued, “Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under 5 years of age, according to the World Health Organisation. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
“There is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life. When polio eradication efforts were launched in 1988, 350,000 children were being paralysed by polio every year across 125 countries.”
The Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s views on benevolence were clear: “We believe that the benefit of the fortune granted to us by God should spread to cover our brothers and friends.”
“This is undoubtedly a gift not only to the children of Pakistan but to all future generations of children, everywhere, who are close to the goal of being able to be born and raised in a polio-free world,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.