GLIDE LAB ROUNDTABLE HIGHLIGHTS DISEASE ELIMINATION EFFORTS THROUGH A GENDER-RESPONSIVE APPROACH

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  • In celebration of International Women’s Day, GLIDE and Reaching the Last Mile Fund co-hosted a special GLIDE Lab discussion at Expo 2020 Dubai, exploring the potential gender and integrated approaches to global disease elimination
  • The roundtable brings together various gender and global health experts ahead of the inaugural global summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), taking place in June in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali

Abu Dhabi: To mark International Women’s Day, the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) and Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF) yesterday co-hosted a GLIDE Lab roundtable discussion at Expo 2020 Dubai’s New Zealand pavilion to discuss opportunities to integrate efforts to eliminate malaria and NTDs, with a focus on the gender dimensions.

GLIDE, the Abu Dhabi-based global health Institute focused on eliminating the infectious diseases of poverty, joined forces with the Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF), a worldwide health initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to co-host ‘Road to Kigali: Gender and integrated approaches to disease elimination’ – a Chatham House-style roundtable discussion.

Speakers included Simon Bland, CEO of GLIDE and Tala Al Ramahi, Associate Director, Crown Prince Court, and brought together an array of leading gender, global health and disease elimination specialists ahead of the planned global summit on Malaria and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NDTs) in Kigali, Rwanda, to be held on the margins on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June.

The event sparked conversations around the gender equity dimensions of health, as well as shared experiences and synergies that could provide pathways to addressing gender aspects of achieving the goal of disease elimination.

Among the challenges is understanding that the health and wellbeing of girls and women will not be addressed by one-size-fits-all interventions, and that the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened existing inequalities, such as gender and wealth discrimination, further impacting relief efforts.

Women and girls in particular bear a significant burden when a family member suffers from symptoms of an NTD that require constant care. When family members are debilitated by NTDs, women and girls are pulled away from productive activities to care for them, with girls often dropping out of school to provide care for their families. Bringing a gender lens to addressing NTDs is crucial as it can both accelerate positive healthcare outcomes, and also address the hidden gendered educational, leadership and economic costs of these diseases, unlocking new community assets and resources.

The roundtable was followed by the worldwide preview of an original composition by acclaimed US music producer and composer George Acogny accompanied by choreography performed by Djoniba Mouflet, an internationally renowned drummer, dancer, performer, and choreographer, ahead of a networking reception for attendees held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Surreal Water Feature.

Reaching the Last Mile Fund is a 10-year, $100 million USD initiative launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, with support from several organisations including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The ELMA Philanthropies.

Hosted by the END Fund – the leading philanthropic vehicle dedicated to ending NTDs – RLMF works to end the two NTDs in seven countries: Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Yemen.

About GLIDE:

GLIDE is a new global health Institute, rooted in Abu Dhabi, focused on accelerating the elimination of four preventable diseases of poverty: currently malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and river blindness, by 2030 and beyond. Founded in 2019 as the result of a collaboration between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GLIDE identifies the latest scientific, cultural, and global health knowledge and puts it into action with its partners through programmes, funding, and skills development to support local health care systems and advance global thinking.

About RLMF:

Reaching the Last Mile Fund is a 10-year, $100 million USD initiative launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, with support from several organisations including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The ELMA Philanthropies.

The Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF) is paving the way to end two devastating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – river blindness and lymphatic filariasis (LF).