Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Foundation, has commended GCC citizens and governments, especially those of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, for their assistance to the needy globally. Gates said on the occasion of launching the annual message of the Foundation that Muslims are top in donations, citing the teachings of their religion that urges them to pay alms Zakat, news agency WAM reported.
Gates said: "Our friends in the Middle East donated funds to help eradicate polio and meningitis. Through cooperation and exchange of expertise, we can make changes."
On cooperation with the Muslim world to improve the living conditions of individuals, Bill Gates noted that "there is a lot of work that can be done to help the poor in the Muslim world, characterised with generous donors who do not hesitate to support such humanitarian issues".
The UAE hosted the Vaccine World Summit 2013, during which over $4 billion was pledged to fight polio.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, donated $120 million, while the Gates Foundation committed $1.8 billion to support this programme.
Charities in the UAE in cooperation with the Gates Foundation pledged in the past four years $249 million, including the allocation of $120 million to fight polio in addition to $33 million to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, WAM said.
Upon the directives of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the UAE also launched the campaign to vaccinate over 13.2 million children in northern Pakistan between June and September 2014.
Gates commended Muslim countries and Muslim scholars on refuting rumours that have been raised about the vaccines in those countries. "I was greatly impressed by the position of many Muslim scholars who have brushed aside the malicious rumours about the polio vaccines. They insisted that the protection of children is a noble act endorsed by Islam," he said.