Atlanta-based humanitarian organization The Carter Center has netted a renewed $10 million commitment from the government of the United Arab Emirates toward its efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, announced the donation in the runup to Neglected Tropical Disease Day Jan. 30, an international campaign to drive awareness about ailments that are relatively rare but can be devastating for those they afflict.
The support continues a relationship that began when the crown prince’s late father, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, invited President Jimmy Carter to visit the UAE 30 years ago.
“I thank former President Carter for our decades-long partnership and his unwavering commitment to ending a disease that affects the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” the crown prince said in a statement.
Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the UAE to the United States, said during a virtual event Jan. 27 that the collaboration is particularly vital during a pandemic that has revealed anew the need for global cooperation on global issues.
“It doesn’t help us to address the COVID pandemic in one part of the world while it thrives in another part of the world. It means we really haven’t solved it. I think what we are doing here with the Carter Center should be a teaching moment for how we need to come together to eradicate Guinea worm, COVID or climate change,” the ambassador said, adding that Mr. Carter and the late sheikh were “long lost brothers” who shared a commitment to using their positions to better the world.
The UAE donation is part of a broader commitment to fighting infectious diseases globally, with the crown prince having donated a quarter-billion dollars since 2010 to fight malaria and other diseases around the world, partially through his Reaching the Last Mile program.
Guinea worm cases are down from 3.5 million in 1986 to just 27 today across a six nations in Africa, putting the disease on track to be the first to be eradicated since smallpox.
Learn more about the Carter Center’s efforts to wipe out Guinea worm and other diseases like trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, river blindness and schistosomiasis here.