Jaber Mohamed Al Shuaibi, Emirati Researcher in Geopolitical Issues

29 April 2020

Global health issues are not new to our today’s world. There were a series of mysterious parasitic diseases and dangerous viruses that had spread centuries ago. Some of these diseases and viruses deprived families of enjoying their life ordinarily and others resulted in the death of their victims. Unfortunately, these debilitating diseases will not be the last distresses witnessed by the world. However, in health crises, the leading role of the State in involving the community members in making life worldwide emerges. The immunized community that has good role model and upright instinctive morals gets affected in humanitarian terms more than others when recognizing the health suffering of other peoples, regardless of the difference in religion and culture or the far geographical distances. Since its establishment, the UAE developed a unique humanitarian formula despite being located in a region suffering from the threats of extreme ideologies decades ago and damages from endless regional wars. However, the UAE has always been keen providing decent life for each individual living on its good earth and extending help to needy people abroad.

The river blindness disease, preceding Corona (COVID-19) pandemic, is a tropical disease from which millions of people suffer, which results in the loss of sight if not treated in a timely manner. The UAE has its own humanitarian priorities that it has never abandoned, where it assumes a unique role in promoting the community security and spreading reassurance in most disadvantaged communities. In this regard, the UAE launched the initiative “Mada” since last February via the concerned organizations for collecting donations from the various segments of the community in partnership with the private sector, with the aim of controlling all of the neglected tropical diseases and easing the suffer of the affected peoples. Although the efforts exerted combating the river blindness are coming in concurrence with the State’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, the UAE renewed its campaigned to save one million persons from blindness in seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa through an initiative under the theme “Donate 2 Dirhams to save 2 eyes” that will continue throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

The UAE’s solidarity with the peoples of the world does not stop at the traditional methods, where the UAE called the participants in the initiative “Ramadan Challenge” for using innovative approaches to express their support to those suffered from the river blindness disease via social networks. This sends humanitarian message to all communities of the world to promote the international solidarity during the time of health crises in the context of cooperation that is not restricted to political or ideological objectives.

The community of the UAE is seen as one family the core of which is our wise leadership. It is also believed that the UAE’s openness to the world and its people that is tolerate and kind to all peoples have promoted the societal cohesion, in order to respond to the appeal of human fraternity, at a time when the UN Secretary General said “COVID-19 pandemic has become a crisis of human rights after hatred discourse is noted against some of the infected people, as well as inequality in providing the health services”.

The UAE has outstanding national cadres. It is also considered as the top donor of foreign aids in the various developmental sectors comparing with its gross national income. Due to the UAE’s stature and positive reputation among other nations, it would not be surprising to see the UAE’s increasing role in established a global order that is more integrated and coordinated with regard to the international effort to combat diseases and endemics at the time of global health crises.