United Arab Emirates and Bill Gates Honor those Working to Stop Polio
Around the world, thousands of polio workers have selflessly dedicated their lives to stopping polio in their communities – whether through educating families about the disease, advocating to local leaders or delivering polio vaccines to children. It is in large part because of their efforts that the world is now on the verge of becoming polio-free.
To recognize the invaluable contributions of polio workers everywhere, this year His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered to create the first-ever Heroes of Polio Eradication (HOPE) Awards. On Sunday December 6, His Highness and Bill Gates personally honored five of these extraordinary individuals at the HOPE Awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
The award winners include:
• HOPE Humanitarian Award: Mr. Constant Dedo from Ghana received the award for more than a decade of commitment to and perseverance in stopping polio in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Mr. Dedo was shot while working on an immunization campaign and, despite this, continued his work to support polio.
• HOPE Education Award: Mr. Atta Ullah from Pakistan received the award for his innovative approach to educating communities in Pakistan about the importance of vaccinating children against polio.
• HOPE Advocacy Award: Bibi Malika from Afghanistan received this award for her instrumental work on polio eradication in hard-to-reach areas, and has served as a community leader, a source of medical wisdom and a female role model in her community.
• HOPE Innovation Award: Mr. Lawan Didi Misbahu from Nigeria, a polio survivor himself, and Chairman of The Association of Polio Survivors of Nigeria and President of the Para-Soccer Federation of Nigeria, received the award for the innovative program focused on engaging and rehabilitating 3000 paraplegics, who are mostly polio survivors in Nigeria. The Polio Survivors has had a core role in Nigeria’s polio program, mobilizing nearly 1300 polio survivors.
• HOPE Achievement Award: Mrs. Freeda, a Lady Health Worker from Pakistan, received this award for efforts to stop polio over the last 15 years, even after a loved one was killed and she was injured in an attack during a vaccination drive.
The HOPE Awards represent a continuation of a strong partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UAE on polio eradication. In 2011, the Gates Foundation and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed announced co-funding in the amount of $100 million to provide life-saving vaccinations to children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including for polio eradication. In 2013, Bill Gates and His Highness co-hosted the first-ever Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi where $4 billion was pledged for polio eradication, including $120 million by His Highness.