Dubai Cares today announced a contribution of AED 11 million (USD 3 million) for 4 years towards a groundbreaking national school-based deworming program by the Government of India to treat all children at risk for parasitic worms. Dubai Cares' contribution complements the commitment of the Government of India towards the program that aims to deworm 140 million children in its first phase.
The launch of India's National Deworming Program will take place in twelve states starting from February 10, 2015, which has been declared National Deworming Day in India. The National Deworming Day, which is the largest single-day school-based deworming effort in the world, targets an initial 140 million children at risk for parasitic worms in schools and pre-schools. The twelve participating states in this first phase of the national program are: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Tripura.
Dubai Cares has partnered with Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative - an initiative that tackles worm infections, anemia and malnourishment amongst children - to support transformational change in health and nutrition amongst children in India. As part of its contribution, Dubai Cares will support Evidence Action over the course of four years to partner with national and state governments in developing national deworming guidelines and communications campaigns, determine prevalence survey guidelines to assess the impact of deworming, and provide technical assistance for state scale-up.
Elaborating on Dubai Cares' involvement in the Indian government's deworming program during the official launch in Jaipur, India, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: "The government of India is forward thinking in its efforts to improve the health and education of its children. As a philanthropic organization, we firmly believe that in order to drive academic excellence among students, it is necessary to promote student health and encourage better nutrition. Dubai Cares has invested in a number of transformative deworming programs as part of our school health and nutrition strategy in Kenya, Palestine, Angola, Vietnam and Namibia. We are well-placed to offer assistance in leveraging existing platforms for program delivery and scaling up implementation to increase coverage."
Saeed Mohammad Al Muhairi, Acting Charge d' Affaires at the UAE Embassy in New Delhi said: "The UAE is well-known for extending humanitarian aid and a helping hand which stems from the vision and wise leadership of the country as represented by UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. We are proud that Dubai Cares is contributing AED 11 million to support efforts to eliminate the public health threat of parasitic worms among the at-risk children in India. We wish Dubai Cares and their partners in India continued success in their efforts to provide services for human kind."
As part of the program, Dubai Cares will support Evidence Action's work with the government of India to scale up the new national program.
H.E. T.P. Seetharam, India Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates said: "The UAE and its wise leadership, represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are major humanitarian supporters of many countries worldwide including India. It is the work of organizations such as Dubai Cares that has helped the UAE make its mark on the world stage as a key player in the philanthropic sector. We value the generosity of the UAE leadership, government and people and we are particularly grateful to Dubai Cares contribution to scale up the National Deworming Program."
Dubai Cares' support to this program in India is in line with the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which created a global alliance led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, global health organizations, private foundations and donors, and governments pledging support to reduce the global burden of NTDs. Targeting 10 diseases, the global alliance has ramped up efforts over the past two years to reach the goals of the World Health Organization (WHO) - the United Nations public health arm - to control or eliminate these diseases by the end of this decade. As a continuum to the London Declaration, Dubai Cares attended the London Declaration meeting in Paris in March 2014, which was hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and titled "Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Conversation on Progress" where the UAE philanthropic organization announced its partnership with this global alliance. One of Dubai Cares' strategic approaches to improve student enrollment and learning outcomes is through an integrated school health and nutrition model that is made up of NTD control, school feeding, WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene) in schools.
"Addressing the public health threat of Neglected Tropical Diseases is high on our list. Deworming children promotes children's overall health and ability to learn. In order to have a tangible impact, these programs need to be scaled-up and implemented at a national level, as India is doing," concluded Al Gurg.
Dubai Cares also announced that it is currently reaching 13 million beneficiaries in 38 developing countries.