Through a strategic partnership between Abu Dhabi Public Health Center and WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, a webinar was organized titled "Pandemic Preparedness in the Countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region This prominent event was held in additional cooperation with the Independent Panel on Preparedness and Response for Pandemic (IPPPR), and the Lancet-SIGHT Commission on Peaceful Societies.
Abu Dhabi Public Health Center made significant contribution to the webinar proceedings. His Excellency Matar Saeed Rashed Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Public Health Center spoke about " What are the lessons learnt in COVID-19 pandemic which should be used in discussions for Framework Convention and preparedness agenda for the future. HE also spoke about the importance of developing national capabilities to raise the level of preparedness.
Taking this opportunity, His Excellency emphasized on the importance of establishing a strong international system for preparedness to face the dangers of future diseases, referring to the role of the UAE under our wise leadership in crisis management and future planning, as it placed the safety of the individual and the health of society at the top priority. His Excellency added: "This webinar represents a qualitative addition to the achievements of the UAE in facing the pandemic, as it enabled us to focus on the vision of the wise leadership to deal with the pandemic from the first day to date."
The Ministry of Health and Community Protection of UAE also participated in the webinar, The intervention from the Ministry of Health emphasized that UAE highly appreciates the efforts being done by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) to prepare its comprehensive report, and welcomes all recommendations made by the panel, said HE Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of Public Health Sector (MoHAP), and Chairman of the National Committee for the Implementation of the Provisions of International Health Regulations and Prevention of Pandemics.
Dr Al Rand stressed that the UAE launched several initiatives to support the World Health Organization and facilitate the effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the world in including COVAX initiative, which aims to ensure the equitable distribution of two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.
This is in addition to the Coalition of Hope initiative launched by Abu Dhabi, to benefit more than two-thirds of the world's population.
“The UAE aims to play a pivotal role in accelerating the pace to the recovery stage from the pandemic in the world. This is in line with the UAE leadership vision to help the world come up with a global solution for the welfare of societies,” Al Rand added.
He went on to say that the sophisticated infrastructure of Dubai airports and the International Humanitarian City has largely contributed to the effective distribution of vaccines around the world.
Lauding the UAE’s support to the international community, Al Rand said that the country has sent approximately 2,062 tons of medical supplies, including 4.25 million tons of PCR testing equipment, 2,110 respirators, benefiting 135 countries around the world. Meanwhile, a total of 117 countries received aid from the warehouses of international organizations in the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. He concluded his statement by emphasizing that the UAE supports the recommendations of the IPPPR and calls for global solidarity and the equitable distribution of vaccines.
The Regional Director of the World Health Organization for the Eastern Mediterranean Region said: "Our goal today has become clear, which is to better prepare the world to respond to the next pandemic, and the importance of learning many lessons from the experiences of the past year. Global solidarity is more important than ever, while access to health services and products remains unequal worldwide, pandemics attack without discrimination, and it is possible that all countries are equally at risk. Therefore, it is important to highlight the economic benefit of pandemic preparedness, as the cost of pandemic preparedness is much lower than the expenditures for responding to emergencies."
He added, "During the webinar, we aim to enhance the capacities of of member states in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to understand the highest-priority health issues related to the Region, and to improve pandemic preparedness at the global level, including surveillance and response capacity."
It should be noted that the participation of Abu Dhabi Public Health Center results from the absolute success story of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in addressing the pandemic, which put the same in the forefront with regard to the successful example of the lessons learned.