UAE hosts high-level discussion on Averting Future Disease Outbreaks

NEW YORK, The UAE and its participating delegation hosted a high-level discussion in cooperation with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA. The discussion on Averting Future Disease Outbreaks comes as a precursor of Gavi’s upcoming mid-term review (MTR) conference in Abu Dhabi in December 2018.

The side-event aims to help galvanise support for the steps necessary to prevent future outbreaks and speed up global disease eradication efforts.

Chaired by Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and moderated by Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of GAVI, a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives around the world, the discussion featured a panel of high-level speakers including Alistair Burt, UK Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister of Public Health of Niger; Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Eduardo Martinez, President of the UPS Foundation.

The discussion was framed within the broader context of the need for a greater focus on healthcare systems in light of the third Sustainable Development Goal: providing good health and well-being, how investments in routine health services and new collaboration models can reduce the threat of outbreaks.

In her opening address, Reem Al Hashimy stressed that “In a world with shifting populations and increased inter-connectedness, infectious diseases know no boundaries. It takes as little as 36 hours for a disease outbreak to spread from a remote community in one country and spread across to other countries. Such a threat has profound repercussions as evident from the human and economic cost of the outbreaks we witnessed � like Ebola, cholera and yellow fever. At the same time, old threats like, measles are on the rise again’.

‘Moreover, by 2050, the global population will stand at 9.7 billion with two-thirds of humanity living in urban areas. Urbanization, increasing interconnectedness through travel, migration and climate change are likely to increase the frequency and reach of disease outbreaks. Disease outbreaks and epidemics impose high human and economic costs on countries; for instance, the economic impact of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone alone was estimated to be US$ 2.8 billion”, she observed.

She added that “preventing this will require global solidarity and this is why we gather here today, to highlight the importance of urgent collaboration, innovation and investment to address disease threats and prevent future outbreaks.”

The discussion comes as a reaffirmation of the UAE’s commitment to the Social Development Goals, as the country commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan throughout 2018, dubbed the Year of Zayed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Throughout the year, multiple initiatives commemorate the values and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father of the UAE, since the nation’s establishment: tolerance, giving, coexistence, loyalty, love for the nation, volunteering, philanthropy and protecting the UAE’s unique environment. These traditional Arab values are at the core of the UAE’s foreign policy since its establishment and until this day.

Gavi’s mid-term review (MTR) conference will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on 10�11 December 2018. The high-level meeting will celebrate 700 million people immunised and 10 million lives saved since Gavi’s inception, review progress against the 2016�2020 investment case and launch the next replenishment cycle.

Source: Emirates News Agency