ABU DHABI, The United Arab Emirates is continuing its multilateral efforts and initiatives to reach a world free from neglected tropical diseases (NTD) that affect the lives of more than 1.7 billion people, as the country adheres to the humanitarian approach and principles based on helping underprivileged people in various countries of the world.

On the 30th of next January, the countries of the world will unite in their celebration of the World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, after it was launched by the World Health Organisation in 2020 to promote and strengthen the efforts of global health authorities and involving the general public in efforts aimed at ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect one in five people in the world.

World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day 2021 will bring together nearly 300 partner organisations from more than 55 countries participating in the diverse global health landscape to end neglected tropical diseases.

During the event, the UAE will light up 14 monuments across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including Burj Al Arab, The Dubai Frame, Emirates Palace, Etihad Arena, and the ADNOC Headquarters.

For more than 30 years, the UAE and its leadership have been committed to fighting NTDs for over 30 years. In 1990, the UAE’s late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made a personal donation of US$5.77 million to the Carter Centre’s efforts to eradicate the NTD Guinea Worm disease.

The decades-long partnership with the Carter Center has prevented 80 million cases of Guinea Worm disease and the condition is on track to be the first disease to be eradicated without the use of vaccines or drugs.

This commitment to NTDs was extended in 2017 with the Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF) – a 10-year, US $100 million initiative launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and various partners.

Administered by The END Fund, RLMF aims to pave the way for the global elimination of the NTD river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis) by building on past successes, complementing ongoing efforts, and reducing the disease’s global footprint.

To involve the public in the mission of RLMF, the fundraising initiative The Reach Campaign was launched in 2020 in the UAE. In partnership with forward-thinking individuals, brands and corporations, it takes an innovative approach to raising money to river blindness, while also educating the public through strategic, targeted advocacy efforts.

Supporting efforts to end NTDs is a part of a larger commitment to Global Health and disease elimination. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has donated more than US$250 million since 2010 to efforts to eliminate preventable infectious diseases.

Neglected tropical diseases affect the lives of more than 1.7 billion, often those living among extreme poverty, in remote communities and without access to basic needs, like clean water.

The International Day of Neglected Tropical Diseases is an occasion for the World Health Organisation to launch a new roadmap that it has developed to eliminate these diseases, in addition to several activities that extend for months, most notably the holding of the first-ever summit on malaria and NTDs to be hosted in Kigali in June.

The new WHO Roadmap represents a guide for the global health community to create new, innovative cross-sector partnerships, to fill the gaps and strengthen countries’ capacity and, ultimately, to make NTD interventions sustainable.


Source: Emirates News Agency