World Immunization Week 2015 launched yesterday with a special event featuring the documentary, Every Last Child, a film about Polio in Pakistan. The special event, organized by the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), included a High-Level Panel Discussion.
Every Last Child, produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Tom Roberts, tells the dramatic story of five people impacted by Polio. It shows the terrible consequences of the disease and pays tribute to the vaccinators who pursue their mission in the face of mistrust, cynicism and violence.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of Health Authority Abu Dhabi and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, stressed on the achievements accomplished by the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program: " In 2013 we managed, through this program to vaccinate more than 8 million children thanks to the amazing mobilization of the local population, this campaign " he added "was pursued in 2014, and succeeded in immunizing 13.2 million children in 4 months only and distributing 28.8 million vaccines since the beginning of this year."
Acting permanent representative of Pakistan, Aamar Aftab Qureishi declared that Polio eradication is a priority for the Pakistani government adding "the UAE PAP program is testament to the strong, brotherly ties between Pakistan and UAE."
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, commented on the notable improvements in Pakistan's Polio eradication program and underlined how important it is for the international community to support Pakistan: "What happens in this country determines whether the global Polio Eradication Initiative succeeds or fails, whether the billions of dollars invested to date deliver a polio-free world or count for nothing."
Four billion dollars were pledged two years ago in Abu Dhabi during the Global Vaccine Summit. H.E. Obaid Salem Al Zaabi Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations reminded the audience that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched at the Summit hosted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in partnership with United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This commitment remains strong today, in 2015, as GPEI continues its work towards the final push, to rid the world of Polio.
Tom Roberts explained that the disease will inevitably and quickly spread if it is not eradicated "the job is almost done," he said " but almost isn't good enough". A message also stressed by Judith Diment Chair of the Rotary Polio Eradication Advocacy Task. She explained the importance of the international global effort in raising the awareness of governments around the world on the necessity of eradicating Polio.
-In conclusion, Mugheer Al Khaili reiterated the UAE's commitment to eradicate Polio as part of his country's international humanitarian policy. He mentioned the various initiatives undertaken to raise awareness at home and abroad. One of which is taking place on the occasion of World Immunization Week. For three consecutive days Every Last Child can be viewed for free in a number of cinemas in the UAE.