UAE hosts U.N. event on fighting polio

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of International Cooperation and Development and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative held an event at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday on combating polio worldwide.

"Polio Eradication: A Call to Action" will seek to galvanize the international community in taking steps to eradicate the disease.

"The recent announcement by the World Health Organization that polio has now become a global health emergency is a great tragedy and challenge," Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi, the minister of international cooperation and development for the UAE, said. "The UAE is committed to addressing this urgent global health issue, having funded several large polio elimination campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. The discussion will be framed within the broader context of the need for a greater focus on primary healthcare."

Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, moderated the discussion, with chief ABC News Medical Editor Richard Besser serving as the master of ceremonies. Participants in the event included Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO, Ayesha Farooq, the Pakistani prime minister's focal point for polio and Chris Elias, the president of the Global Development Program of the Gates Foundation.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash chaired the event.