The creation of this award comes two years after the original formation of the international task force to eradicate polio. The task force - the Global Polio Eradication Initiative - was developed in April 2013 as a collaborative partnership between both private and public entities as well as over 200 countries. During a global submit in the UAE coordinated by Sheikh Mohammed and philanthropist Bill Gates, the initiative developed a six-year plan to eradicate polio worldwide. The initial project received over $4 billion in funding in order to do so.
The success of this initiative is evident through the decrease in the number of cases of polio since its inception. In Pakistan in particular, where over 85 million vaccines have been distributed, the number of cases of polio have decreased greatly. This has involved health workers traveling door-to-door in order to ensure that people in these areas were able to receive the vaccine. In doing so, they have also been able to distribute oral vaccines to more than 200 million children. In 2014, there were 328 reported cases in Pakistan. Currently in 2015, only 38 cases have been reported. Nigeria has not seen any new cases and was officially declared polio-free in September 2015. The UAE has also supported health workers to distribute vaccines in Afghanistan where polio has become less prevalent.
The Gates Foundation, the UAE and others hope that next year will be the year when there are no new cases of polio. No new cases of polio will be a huge step towards declaring polio to be internationally eradicated. In order to be declared completely eradicated, there must be three years of no cases and no signs of the disease in sewage systems. So while great progress has been made on this front, there is still more work to do. In a statement released on October 22, 2015, the UAE stated that it will continue its humanitarian efforts and face the challenges ahead until polio is officially eradicated.