An event was organized at the World Health Organization, Islamabad to acknowledge UAE Pakistan Assistance Program (UAE PAP) launched in January 2011 on the directions of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Armed Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The UAE PAP aims at rehabilitation of the people of northern areas of Pakistan, especially Swat which had been the most affected by the 2010 mega floods. The event was attended by WHO, UNICEF and the UAE officials.
United Arab Emirates and Pakistan enjoy a long friendly relations and Pakistan has been fortunate enough to have UAE as its most trusted and reliable ally. The rulers of UAE have been kind enough to extend their technical and financial expertise and services to Pakistan to help surmount obstacles hampering development in various social and humanitarian fields. The UAE PAP reflects on the love of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for the people of Pakistan. Under this program, UAE has been providing assistance to Pakistan in a number of areas such as improving health indicators and constructing hospitals, eliminate unemployment and improve economic conditions, poverty alleviation, construction of roads and bridges, provision of clean drinking water, improving literacy rate and constructing schools and colleges and extending humanitarian assistance in times of a natural disaster by providing shelter, food and healthcare to the displaced population.
Welcoming the honorable guests, Dr Michel Thieren, WHO Representative in Pakistan appreciated the UAE PAP which demonstrated that no community in the world should be considered unreachable. “Who speaks about his friend, speaks about himself”, quoting a Pashto proverb he stated that public health and medicine were not only a science but an art embedded in the Hippocratic and early Islamic traditions of Avicenna and Al-Razi that is to uncompromisingly serve the public. He further added that taking time to reach out to people, to listen to them, and learn from them guarantee a durable difference in their lives, and in ours. “UAE Polio Eradication Campaign gave us ‘HOPE’ to reach the people in inaccessible areas through community involvement”, he commended.
Thanking the UAE government and PAP, Dr Elias Durry, WHO Team Leader-Polio said that UAE support to Polio program makes it function in very difficult circumstances in the northern Pakistan. He further said that the performance of the UAE PAP will make Polio eradication initiative work in difficult-to-access areas. Praising the efforts of the UAE PAP he said that the program has indeed made a difference in two years’ time and the journey continues. He hoped to replicate the same approach in other areas like Karachi where Polio cases have been detected.
Mr Per Engebak, Team Leader-Polio at the UNICEF also appreciated the UAE PAP interventions in health, education and infrastructure sectors and said that their investment in children is very impressive for an organization like UNICEF that is working on so many different fronts and has a special mandate for children.
Highlighting the link between development and health Dr Ni’ma Abid, Medical Officer said that the program built on community acceptance and participation while keeping linkages between cultures is indeed admirable.
“We believe that the Human development and investment in health and education sectors is crucial to bring peace and prosperity for the people of Pakistan. Our mission is the same and we share common goals, and together United Arab Emirates, World Health Organization and United Nation can aspire to aim for the betterment of the humanity”, said Mr Abdulla Khalifa Al Ghufli, Director UAE PAP. He further said that their main objective was the wellbeing of women and children in FATA. While commenting on the eradication of Polio, Mr Al Ghufli said that Polio could be eradicated by working together and engaging the local community.
Emirates Polio Campaign under the slogan “a healthy and bright future for all” along with the Pakistan Army devised an intelligent strategic plan to fight Polio having a target to reach 8 million children at a cost of US$ 9.2 million in 3 months in its first phase.
On this occasion, a documentary titled “Spirit of Solidarity” was screened highlighting various significant humanitarian and welfare projects undertaken by the program especially focusing on the eradication of Polio in Pakistan. The documentary was a true testimony of the friendly ties between UAE and Pakistan that have flourished and strengthened with the passage of time.