ABU DHABI- The UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Development and President of Zayed University, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, has called for more concerted international efforts to combat malaria.
Speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition by the photographer Adam Nadel, entitled “Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears”, she noted that the United Nations identified in 2000 the objective of decreasing the percentage of those affected by this disease in the world by 75 percent as one of the millennium development aims by 2015. She added that the international community had made great progress in terms of combating this disease, but much remains to be done.
Sheikha Lubna said, “The U.A.E. has been combating this disease and hasn’t recorded any single case since 1997. In order to globally combat malaria, the country directed its efforts to support the “Roll Back Malaria Partnership” programme in order to globally achieve this aim.” Held under the patronage of General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown-Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. armed forces, the event was attended by Princess Astrid, sister of King Philippe of Belgium, and a special representative of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
The exhibition by the photographer Adam Nadel is organised by the U.A.E. Ministry of International Cooperation and Development in collaboration with Emirates Place Hotel. The exhibition is open to the public until 18th May. It identifies the impact of the generous assistance that is provided by the country in combating malaria.
In 2010, under the directives of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the U.A.E. pledged through the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, Haad, $25 million in order to support the work of partnership.
Sheikha Lubna added that the U.A.E. is keen on enhancing its cooperation and supporting international organisations’ efforts as well as taking advantage of other states’ experiences on combating malaria.
She noted that through the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by accredited ambassadors in the UAE, representatives of government institutions, donors, Emirati humanitarian institutions as well as international organisations, in addition to representatives of local and international media, the exhibition effectively contributes to combating challenges which face global health.
This exhibition is being held for the 1st time in the Middle East after its launch in New York on World Malaria Day, 2010 , and documents tangible improvements which were made in terms of controlling the disease in developing countries. It also shows the devastating impact of this disease.
Sheikha Lubna said that the country always supports finding solutions in order to improve global health indicators, and works harder to combat diseases which affect children.
She pointed out that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, pledged during the global vaccinations summit hosted in Abu Dhabi in 2013, to provide $120 million to support international efforts to combat polio, as well as his donation in 2011 of $33 million for the global alliance of vaccinations and immunization (GAVI), in cooperation with Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to reduce child mortality rates in Afghanistan.
Sheikha Lubna added that the U.A.E. became the 1st donor country globally in terms of ODA in 2013 compared with its GNI according to the initial statistics of DAC/OECD, confirming that the U.A.E. will continue supporting international efforts to respond to major issues, including global health, with its interactive and urgent response to provide support for affected people by humanitarian crisis.
She concluded her speech by encouraging and urging world countries and governments, donors and partners to renew and strengthen their commitment to build strong partnerships on all levels to combat malaria.
She thanked the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Princess Astrid, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, embassies, donors, humanitarian institutions and charities which support humanitarian efforts.
Princess Astrid, who is the special representative of this partnership, said that the U.A.E. has been an interactive member of this partnership over the past 5 years. She also thanked the U.A.E. for its support for the partnership and she hopes that it will achieve its objectives, and that the international community will contribute to supporting and cooperating to achieve this.
UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon stressed in a recorded speech the importance of concerted international efforts to combat and eradicate malaria. For his part, Geoffery Sachs, special advisor to UN Secretary-General for the Millenium Development Goals, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University also delivered a speech in this respect.
Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, executive director of Roll Back Malaria addressed the event.-WAM