On World Malaria Day UAE reaffirms commitment to eradicate malaria

On World Malaria Day, April 25, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reinforced the nation’s commitment to eradicating malaria and pledged to continue working with international partners to combat the disease. Sheikh Mohamed stated on Twitter that helping those in need is a shared responsibility, and that all possible means must be pursued to accelerate malaria eradication efforts.

The UAE is a key player in the fight against malaria through its participation in the Roll Back Malaria initiative. Sheikh Mohamed has personally donated millions of dollars towards this cause. In January, the UAE contributed $5 million to an international campaign focused on addressing the effects of climate change on malaria eradication efforts.

Launched by Sheikh Mohamed in 2017, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Reaching the Last Mile initiative is a 10-year, $100 million fund aimed at combating the world’s deadliest diseases. This initiative will provide crucial investment over the next three years, enabling the expansion of the Forecasting Healthy Futures scheme led by the US-based non-profit organisation, Malaria No More.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, but progress in combating it is under threat. Extreme weather events in Malawi and Pakistan have resulted in significant increases in malaria infections and deaths. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that in 2021 there were an estimated 247 million cases worldwide, with 619,000 deaths attributed to malaria.

Last year, over a million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi received the RTS,S vaccine manufactured by British pharmaceutical giant GSK, following scientific breakthroughs. The UAE was declared malaria-free by the WHO in 2007, and the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) reaffirmed its commitment to reducing global malaria incidence by 90% before 2030.

The UAE continues to combat malaria through preventative measures and collaborations with leading institutions, contributing to global health initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership programme. The nation’s response to malaria is based on a robust strategy, including an efficient epidemiological surveillance programme, which complies with the International Health Regulations and Federal Law No. (14) of 2014 Concerning the Prevention of Communicable Diseases.

Image Credit: Darcey Beau on Unsplash

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