UNICEF receives US$ 1 million donation from Al Ansari Exchange to support polio eradication in Afghanistan

07 Jan 2013

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – which works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection – received US$ 1million in donation from the UAE’s leading exchange company, Al Ansari Exchange to be used for polio eradication in Afghanistan.

This donation is part of Al Ansari Exchange’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of UNICEF’s key partners and Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) supporters.

Dr. Ibrahim El-Ziq, UNICEF Representative for the Gulf Area, thanked Al Ansari Exchange for its generous grant: “This liberal donation will play an important role in the shortfall coverage for the provision of the necessary financial support for this initiative. Afghanistan, which suffers from a high polio rate, will now immensely benefit from this programme ,” he added.

Dr El-Ziq stressed that many rampant diseases, particularly those targeting children, can be combated and eliminated through consolidating the international community’s efforts and provide the necessary financial support needed for the purchase of vaccines. This also increases awareness about these epidemics through families and communities.

“This initiative reflects Al Ansari Exchange’s leading position and the important role played by major corporations in promoting the concept of social responsibility, whether locally or internationally. We hope that this step will encourage and motivate other corporates to take the same step and support humanitarian and charitable activities that care for children and seek to provide safe, healthy and child-friendly environment in the least favored areas of the world,” remarked Dr El-Ziq.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that attacks the nervous system. Children under five years of age are the most vulnerable, but timely immunization can prevent infection. Approximately one out of every 200-400 child infected will suffer from paralysis and even death.

Mohammed Ali Al Ansari, Chairman and Managing Director of Ansari Exchange, expressed his pleasure in joining UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in their efforts to eradicate polio, stressing the importance of the private sector’s social responsibility commitment, not only at the local level, but also on the regional and international level.

He said “As a part of our corporate social responsibility, Al Ansari Exchange is deeply committed to serving the underprivileged of the society through various initiatives, both locally, as well as by joining hands with international organizations like Unicef, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We shall continue with this endeavor and do our bit in fighting disease and poverty around us.”

Since the launch of the GPEI in 1988 during the World Health Assembly, the number of polio cases has decreased by over 99%, from over 350,000 in 125 countries to 67 cases in four countries as of 31 May last year.

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