An official administers polio vaccine to a child. WAM
As the world celebrated the global eradication of wild poliovirus type 3 on World Polio Day on Thursday, the World Health Organisation Country Office in Pakistan (WHO Pakistan), has confirmed the ‘strong commitment’ of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the UAE, in polio eradication.
In a tweet posted on its Twitter official account, the WHO Pakistan, commented Pakistan’s historic progress to end this epidemic, saying that it would not be possible without the strong commitment of partners.
“Pakistan’s historic progress to #EndPolio would not be possible without the strong commitment of partners like @MohamedBinZayed and the UAE,” the tweet said.
Dr Hamid Jafari, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the WHO, and Dr Abdirahman Mahamud, Federal Polio Programme Team Leader, WHO, thanked Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, the director of the United Arab Emirates Pakistan Assistance Programme, UAE PAP.
“@WHOEMRO’s Dr Hamid Jafari & @WHOPakistan’s @AbdiMahamud18 gave thanks to @uae_pap Director Abdalla KhalifaAl Ghufli on #WorldPolioDay,” the tweet added.
WHO on Thursday announced the eradication of wild poliovirus type 3, declaring it another important step in the global effort to end polio.
“This achievement is another giant step towards freeing the world from the crippling disease. The WHO European Region has massively contributed to this since it was declared polio free in 2002,” says Dr Nedret Emiroglu, Director of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases, WHO, Europe.
Since 1988, the world has reduced wild polio cases by more than 99 per cent, according to WHO.
Separately, in recognition for his commitment to fighting polio, Sheikh Mohamed, was thanked in a tweet on Wednesday by the global health charity, Rotary International.
Tagging the accounts of His Highness, UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP), and the Gates Foundation, Rotary International tweeted, “Thank you for your continued support in the fight to end polio.”
The tweet coincides with the marking of World Polio Day on Thursday October 24th and comes after Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed renewed his commitment to fighting the disease.
Sheikh Mohamed tweeted, “On #WorldPolioDay, we renew our commitment to eradicating polio. Together with our partners and in collaboration with local communities, we can #endpolio and ensure a healthy future for the next generation.”
World Polio Day was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis (polio).
Every year, Rotary International, World Health Organisation and other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative utilise World Polio Day to celebrate the individuals and organisations that have brought the world ever closer to polio eradication and to highlight the remaining challenges.
Rotary International is an international service organisation that brings together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, and advance goodwill and peace around the world.
WHO officials have also said that global collaborative efforts by governments and civil society are necessary to reach a polio-free world.
Michel Zaffran, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, GPEI, at WHO, said, “Polio is a highly infectious and epidemic-prone disease, and it will not stay confined, it cannot be controlled.”
“It must be eradicated completely; otherwise it will keep spreading to re-emerge in countries which are already polio-free,” he added.
Zaffran made his remarks on World Polio Day, marked annually on 24th October.
WHO recognises that failure to adopt strategic approaches to eradicating polio could lead to as many as 200,000 new cases of the virus inflicting individuals per annum. “We know from mathematical modelling that failure to eradicate polio now, would lead to the global resurgence of the disease, and within ten years, we would again see 200,000 children paralysed all over the world, each and every year,” the GPEI Director warned.
“This would be a humanitarian catastrophe that must be avoided at all costs,” he stressed.