The UAE Wednesday announced the launch of Last Mile Fund, a new $100-million fund to combat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) mainly River blindness and Tlymphatic filariasis, which affect millions of lives around the world, but in Africa and in the Middle East in particular.
Announced at a global health forum in the Emirati capital, the fund will boost the eradication of the two diseases still rampant in Tropical Africa and Middle East.
“The fund reflects our long-term vision to save lives and put an end to neglected tropical diseases,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed himself pledged $20 million as contribution to the fund.
Bill Gates, Co-chair & Trustee, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also pledged $20 million while the British government brings its contribution to $30 million.
The fund will be managed by the END Fund, a philanthropic investment platform focused on tackling the five most NTDs and will run for 10 years.
British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline and its in-kind firm, MSD (Merck) will provide medicine, notably albendazole and ivermectin, used to treat and eliminate lymphatic filariasis and river blindness.
The gathering also saw in attendance head of the World Bank Group, Jim Young Kim, Director-General of the World Health Organization, UAE leaders and a few African leaders.