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Over 10.6 million children vaccinated against polio in Pakistan in 2016: UAE PAP

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ISLAMABAD, 4th February, 2017 (WAM) -- More than 10.6 million children were vaccinated against polio during the third phase of the UAE polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan in 2016.

Over 71.5 million polio vaccines were distributed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh provinces and in FATA, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme, UAE PAP, announced.

The campaign was launched in implementation to the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to provide humanitarian aid and develop prevention programmes in Pakistan.

The UAE PAP also pointed out that the campaign is being implemented in line with the initiative of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to eradicate polio globally and it exemplifies the directives of the wise leadership to enhance the efforts aimed at curbing the spread of epidemics and the prevention of the negative health consequences suffered by children.

In 2013, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, launched an initiative to provide AED 440 million (US$120 million) as a contribution from him in support of the global efforts to eradicate polio by 2018, with a special focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sheikh Mohamed said that the under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE always seeks to hold international partnerships to tackle important global issues and this historic opportunity still exists before the world to fully eradicate polio during the coming six years. He added that the international community is able to address this infectious disease for the benefit of the coming generations.

The aid, is the second, that has been provided by Sheikh Mohamed to deliver vaccinations to all children across the globe.

In 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a strategic partnership that provided a total of US$100 million, divided equally between the two parties, for the purchase and delivery of vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of UAE PAP gave details about the Emirates Vaccination Campaign, saying that in the third phase of the campaign in 2016, more than 71.5 million vaccines were given to children against polio in Pakistan.

He added that in the second phase in 2015, over 73.2 million vaccines were distributed, and in the first phase in 2014, more than 13.2 million vaccines were given to children against the disease.

He also pointed out that during the past three years more than 158.1 millions polio vaccines for given to Pakistani children less than five years old.

He said that over 85.5 million vaccines were distributed in 25 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over 18.1 million in 16 districts of Balochistan, over 36.5 million vaccines in 12 districts in Sindh and over 17.9 million in 13 districts of FATA.

He added that the campaign has witnessed a notable success and turnout from the populations. He indicated that mobile vaccination centres were opened to vaccinate refugees in displaced areas.

He noted that the campaign was carried out in coordination and mutual cooperation with Pakistani Army, UNICEF, WHO, Ministry of Health in Pakistan, provincial health departments and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Al Ghafli concluded that the success of the vaccination campaign proves that the humanitarian efforts and initiatives of the UAE, in implementation to the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, are remarkably effective and that the UAE is playing a leading role in assisting underprivileged across the globe in support of the UN's efforts to protect people against diseases and disasters and to provide dignified living for all.

WAM/Hazem/AAMIR