Abu Dhabi crown prince and Bill Gates have been working together for quite some time to combat illness around the world. Now, they've together announced another massive effort to eradicate some of the world's worst infectious diseases.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, made the announcement this week in Abu Dhabi at the Reaching the Last Mile: Together to Eliminate Infectious Diseases health forum, according to Emirates 24|7.
Together with Bill Gates, the Emirati royal revealed the launch of the Last Mile Fund, which will raise $100 million to eradicate and control preventable diseases hindering the health and economic prospects of the world’s poorest.
Sheikh Mohammed pledged to give $20 million to the fund over the next 10 years, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also contributing up to $20 million. It will be managed by the END Fund, a philanthropic investment platform focused on tackling the five most commonly neglected tropical diseases.
In addition, a new research institute addressing infectious diseases will be established in Abu Dhabi.
Bill Gates, who was in attendance and received and award at the forum, tweeted that Sheikh Mohammed has been an "instrumental" partner.
Sheikh Mohammed said the fund will "build on past successes and complement ongoing international efforts to free the world of two devastating preventable diseases."
"No human should suffer from a preventable disease, yet these neglected diseases continue to incapacitate millions of people in Africa and the Middle East. Elimination would help to lift millions more out of poverty, and drive a positive multiplier effect across the continent," he said, inviting partners from around the world to contribute to the fund.
Back in 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed partnered with Gates to tackle polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, each partner committed $50 million to eradicate the disease in the two countries.
Earlier this year, the UAE committed to contributing $30 million "to end polio for good," leading Bill Gates to tweet his appreciation of the country's efforts.
Gates also highlighted the important efforts of the UAE in the fight against polio earlier this year. In a video message, he specifically mentioned Sheikh Mohamed's partnership.
"In fact, he [Sheikh Mohammed] has used his unique relationship with a lot of the key countries, including Pakistan, to help make our work there very, very successful," Gates said in the video.