- His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation signs the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs
- UAE reaffirms its commitment to invest in strategic programs and forge partnerships that can accelerate elimination of neglected tropical diseases and malaria
Abu Dhabi: In line with its decades-long leadership in global disease elimination efforts, the UAE has reaffirmed its commitment to ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) after endorsing the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases in Rwanda.
The signing of the Declaration was celebrated yesterday during the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs, hosted by the Government of Rwanda on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Summit convened global health leaders to highlight the urgency of ending malaria and NTDs and identify opportunities for better integration across disease elimination efforts.
His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attended the Summit and signed the Kigali Declaration on behalf of the UAE. His Excellency attended representing His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE, and the Reaching the Last Mile initiative, which reflects His Highness’s philanthropic commitments to disease elimination.
Launched earlier this year on World NTD Day, a global day of advocacy championed by the UAE, the Kigali Declaration is a high-level political declaration that aims to mobilize political will, resources and action to end unnecessary suffering from NTDs. The Declaration focuses on country ownership of NTD programs and stresses the importance of integration and cross-sectoral collaboration.
Remarking on the Declaration, His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan said: “Today represents another significant milestone in the effort to end neglected tropical diseases, as we join global leaders in pledging to eliminate these diseases that are affecting millions of people in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Only through collaboration and partnership can we truly make significant progress on the journey toward ending NTDs. We are honored to join the Government of Rwanda and our international partners to mark the next stage of that journey here in Kigali.”
The Kigali Declaration builds on the success of the ground-breaking 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which ended this year, and outlines a clear pathway to achieve the targets laid out by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2030 Roadmap on NTDs. Significant progress has been made on NTDs over the past several decades as a result of the collective work of donors, governments, and partner organizations, with 45 countries having eliminated at least one NTD so far.
His Excellency added: “The UAE is a long-standing champion of NTD elimination. We are proud to continue the legacy of our late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and to reaffirm the commitment of our President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who believes that no one should suffer from a preventable disease.
“Much progress has been made on NTDs, and as a nation we are determined to continue to support elimination efforts and global movements such as the Kigali Declaration that can help raise awareness and mobilize resources. Our collective efforts will free communities from the burden of these devastating diseases while strengthening local health systems and securing a safer world for all.”
The Kigali Declaration was also signed by Heads of State including Rwandan President, Paul Kagame; Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari; Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape; and President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan; along with other esteemed officials and partners.
The Declaration was developed through a collaborative and iterative process which included input from Reaching the Last Mile, as well as other key partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center, the END Fund and several endemic countries.
The UAE and Abu Dhabi’s ruling family have been leaders on efforts to end infectious diseases for the last three decades, continuing the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, founder of the UAE, who made a personal donation to Jimmy Carter’s Guinea Worm Eradication Programme in 1990. This commitment continues today through the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed with a continued partnership with the Carter Center and through the Reaching the Last Mile Fund, which he launched in 2017 to provide a proof of concept for eliminating river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Africa.
The UAE and its leadership have also made significant contributions to global efforts to prevent and control malaria, a deadly infectious disease that disproportionately affects women and children, with donations to The Global Fund and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. Through the Reaching the Last Mile Initiative, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also launched Forecasting Healthy Futures in 2019, an innovative partnership with Malaria No More and several technology partners to advance climate-informed malaria policies and interventions.
About Reaching the Last Mile
Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) is a portfolio of global health programs working towards disease elimination that is driven by the personal commitment of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE. The Initiative provides treatment and preventative care in communities that lack access to quality health services, with a specific focus on reaching the last mile of disease elimination. RLM’s mission represents His Highness’s dedication to ending preventable diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and helping millions of children and adults live healthy, dignified lives.