Second Biennial Reaching the Last Mile Forum to Focus on ‘Accelerating The Pace’ in Infectious Disease Elimination

18 September 2019
Over 250 preeminent global health leaders will gather to share insights on how best to map, eliminate and eradicate infectious diseases globally at the second biennial Reaching the Last Mile Forum. The event will be held in Abu Dhabi on 19 November under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


The Forum will bring together global health experts from across government, the private sector, philanthropy and academia to discuss ways to build momentum and reach the last mile of disease elimination. The one-day, invitation-only, event will include interactive sessions, discussions, and workshops which will celebrate successes, highlight challenges, and identify solutions through the innovative use of vaccines, technology, global health infrastructure, and public-private partnerships.


The theme of this year’s Forum is ‘Accelerating the Pace,’ and the event will highlight the tools, technology and partnerships required to help the global community eliminate infectious diseases faster. Health workers, innovators and experts will also share their stories from the field.


The Forum will host a pledging moment for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Endgame Strategy 2019-2023, highlighting the commitments of donor governments, philanthropists and private sector leaders to ending polio.


A series of major global health announcements will also be unveiled during the Forum, including the latest findings in the pursuit of ending malaria and new advocacy efforts to support ending neglected tropical diseases.


A full list of speakers will be announced shortly, and the agenda can be found on the Reaching the Last Mile website.


The winners of the biennial Recognizing Excellence Around Champions of Health (REACH) Awards will also be unveiled at the Forum. The REACH Awards celebrate frontline health workers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, courage and commitment in the field of disease elimination. The award ceremony will also unveil the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to an outstanding leader who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to global health over his or her career. Former US President Jimmy Carter received the first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 for his lifelong work to end Guinea worm disease.


Commenting on the announcement, His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi said: “The Forum is a unique opportunity to celebrate success and convene the important partners and the key stakeholders required to address the urgent global health challenges. Hosting the event in Abu Dhabi offers a fresh environment to drive change and inspire creativity. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is personally committed to ending preventable diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and helping millions of children and adults live healthy, dignified lives. So much incredible work has been done to tackle preventable diseases, but the global health community cannot let momentum stall. In fact, we have to accelerate the pace.”


The UAE’s dedication to disease elimination builds on the foundations laid by the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates. Since 2011, His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed, has committed more than US $250 million to global efforts to eliminate deadly and debilitating diseases.


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