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UAE Previews ‘Countdown to Zero’ Exhibition

Contact: Tala Ismail al Ramahi,
Tel: +971 2 668 6880

Abu Dhabi, UAE | HE Dr. Maha Barakat, Director General of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi and HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, inaugurated a preview of the exhibition Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease at Yas Mall on Monday. Organized in partnership with The Carter Center (Atlanta, GA) in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History (New York City), Countdown to Zero highlights global efforts to eradicate and eliminate human disease, including Guinea worm, which could soon become the second human disease ever to be eradicated, after smallpox. The preview exhibition will run at Yas Mall until 10 July, and the full exhibition will open in the UAE later this year.

The Carter Center, in partnership with various entities and stakeholders, has led global efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease since 1986. The Carter Center is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, and works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering.

For more than two decades, the United Arab Emirates has been a major partner in the Guinea worm eradication campaign, beginning with a financial commitment made by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1990. In 2012, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi,  renewed the UAE’s pledge to this public health cause by earmarking US $10 million to The Carter Center, making the country not only one of the first champions of this effort, but also one of its most prominent donors. Current support includes a 2015 gift of US $ 5 million from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

President Carter recently acknowledged this support by giving Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan the second of fifty limited-edition prints of his painting White Dove. The gift will be showcased to the public at the full exhibition, which will be held later in the year.

“For more than two decades, the United Arab Emirates has been an instrumental partner in the Carter Center’s global effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease, an ancient affliction.  The Center is pleased to further collaborate with the UAE to bring the exhibition Countdown to Zero to the Emirates and explore the challenges and successes of disease elimination in the modern, interconnected world,” said Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, Carter Center CEO.

Carter Center Trustee Mr. Douglas Nelson represented the Carter Center during the opening of the preview exhibition at Yas Mall. Mr. Nelson currently serves as the Chairman of the Center for Disease Control Foundation, and is the retired President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States.

Guinea worm is a parasite that enters the human body in contaminated drinking water. While there is no cure or vaccine for Guinea worm disease, it can be eradicated through community health education, and low-tech interventions, such as filtering all drinking water via cloth water filters. The Carter Center-led Guinea worm eradication campaign has driven the global incidence of Guinea worm disease down to only 22 cases reported in 4 endemic countries in 2015, a reduction of more than 99.99 percent since 1986.  To date, 198 countries and territories have been certified as free of Guinea Worm disease by the World Health Organization, the only agency that can officially certify the eradication of a disease.

About the Carter Center
The Carter Center is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter. In partnership with Emory University, The Carter Center works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering through various peace and health programs around the world.

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