By Joanne Bladd
UAE declared malaria-free in 2007, but other Arab countries still suffer.
Abu Dhabi will donate $25m over a period of five years to bolster UN efforts to fight malaria, the oil-rich emirate has said, providing a “tangible boost” to the global campaign.
Abu Dhabi government’s multimillion dollar grant will support the UN’s Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), to “expand the fight against malaria worldwide, and contribute to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015," the UAE’s official WAM news agency said.
There are an estimated 881,000 deaths each year from the mosquito-borne disease, 38,000 of which are in the Middle East.
The UAE was declared malaria-free in 2007; however other Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have struggled to eradicate the parasitic infection.
RBM executive director Awa Marie Coll-Seck praised Abu Dhabi for its support, which "provides a major boost to the RBM Partnership and sends an important message of encouragement to the international malaria community.”
"This funding will have a direct impact upon the capacity of the partnership to accelerate current advances and ensure that countries move closer to the RBM universal coverage targets," she added, following the signing of the donor agreement.
Half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria, which is spread by the bite of infected female mosquitoes, but women and children are particularly at risk of the disease.
According to RBM, coordinated efforts have reduced malaria deaths by more than 50 percent in countries such as Eritrea, Rwanda and Zambia through the use of mosquito nets, spraying and medicines.
The RBM Partnership is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria, and was founded by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and the United Nations Development programme. It has more than 500 partner organisations worldwide.For all the latest health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.