The Reaching the Last Mile Forum is poised to make history on December 3 at Expo City Dubai, embedded within the larger context of Cop28’s groundbreaking health day. This forum is not just a meeting of minds but a collective effort to evaluate progress and combat pressing health challenges in the world’s last-mile communities.
Progress Evaluation: Polio, Malaria, and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Leaders from across the globe will converge to scrutinize the strides made in the battle against polio, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The goal is to infuse new momentum, foster innovation, and attract investments dedicated to addressing the unique health challenges faced by these communities.
Climate Change and Human Health: Unveiling the Evidence
At the heart of the forum lies a commitment to unravel the intricate relationship between climate change and human health. The event will serve as a platform for presenting compelling evidence on how climate change impacts infectious diseases. Drawing lessons from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related disasters, the forum will explore strategies to build resilient health systems.
Strengthening Health Systems and Community Workforces: A Vital Imperative
The pandemic laid bare the vulnerabilities and disparities in global health systems. In response, the forum aims to strategize on fortifying health systems and empowering community workforces. By focusing on these elements, the aim is to create communities that can withstand unforeseen health challenges.
Last-Mile Disease Elimination: Global Progress Review
Positioned as the primary global gathering for last-mile disease elimination, this year’s forum is set to be a critical review of progress. It offers a unique platform for not just taking stock but also for securing new commitments and partnerships. Diseases such as polio, malaria, and NTDs will be in sharp focus as the world collectively rallies for their elimination.
Under the patronage of the UAE President, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum will take place on 3 December 2023, as part of the @COP28_UAE health day. The forum will serve to embed health in the global climate agenda, mobilising new partnerships in support of shared health goals. pic.twitter.com/4gUk0XWquJ— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@ADMediaOffice) October 18, 2023
Financing Challenges and Innovative Solutions
In an era where global crises and domestic priorities often overshadow healthcare financing, the forum recognizes the challenges. It will explore innovative financing solutions, including philanthropy, private-sector partnerships, and novel funding sources, to ensure sustained progress.
UAE’s Exemplary Role in Disease Eradication
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands at the forefront of the fight against tropical diseases. With donations exceeding a quarter of a billion dollars since 2010, the UAE has been a consistent supporter. The Reaching the Last Mile initiative, launched in 2017 with backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, underscores a decade-long commitment to eliminate river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in African countries.
UAE’s Pledge: Polio’s End in Sight
In a significant milestone, Sheikh Mohammed, with support from the Gates Foundation, has pledged an end to polio. From affecting 125 countries in 1988, the virus now persists only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, showcasing remarkable progress in healthcare delivery to rural and isolated communities.
Philanthropy and Collaborations: Sustaining Commitment
Recognizing the financial challenges associated with the last mile, the forum aims to explore avenues like philanthropy and private-sector collaborations. The UAE’s $5 million boost in January to address the impact of climate change on malaria eradication demonstrates a commitment to sustainable investment over the next three years.
In conclusion, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum at Cop28 is not merely a conference but a beacon of hope for a healthier and disease-free world. As it unfolds, leaders and stakeholders are set to collaborate, innovate, and commit to reaching the last mile in the fight against diseases that have long plagued vulnerable communities.