Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles

Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2017

Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles

NEW YORK: A Saudi Arabian charitable foundation said on Monday it will give $50 million to the United Nations children’s agency to help eliminate measles, the largest private donation ever to UNICEF’s efforts.
The donation by Riyadh-based Alwaleed Philanthropies comes amid rising concern about the highly contagious disease, a leading cause of death among children, with recent outbreaks in Italy and Romania.
It will help vaccinate more than 51 million children in 14 countries, UNICEF said.
Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s head, said the show of charity could inspire others to give to the immunization effort.
“Alwaleed Philanthropies’ generosity will ... serve as a catalyst to spur greater investment,” he said in a statement.
The gift is the largest single private donation ever made to UNICEF’s measles and rubella elimination efforts, a UNICEF spokeswoman said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus can lead to deadly complications like diarrhea, dehydration, respiratory infection and encephalitis and kills nearly 400 children every day.
It can be prevented with two doses of a widely available and inexpensive vaccine but continues to infect tens of thousands of people globally.
Reported measles cases increased in Africa, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region in 2014 and 2015, according to WHO.
Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud, secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, said the need to stamp out the disease is particularly pressing amid current humanitarian crises that increase risks of disease.
Citing wars, refugees and asylum seekers, she said: “A lot of factors now are changing.
“You have to do whatever you can,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Alwaleed Philanthropies’ founder, billionaire investor and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, pledged in 2015 to give his entire $32 billion fortune to charity over time.
It has so far spent money on health care and women’s rights in more than 124 countries.
Last year, the Americas became the first region in the world to be declared measles free.


Tariq Al-Ahmari, Saudi Arabia's spokesperson for higher education

Updated 15 sec ago

Tariq Al-Ahmari, Saudi Arabia's spokesperson for higher education

The Saudi Ministry of Education announced new appointments, including Ibtesam Al-Shehri as the first woman to hold the position of spokesperson for public education in the Kingdom, and Tariq Al-Ahmari as a spokesperson for higher education.

Al-Ahmari, 30, is a lecturer at King Saud University.

He received a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management from King Saud University in 2011.

From 2007 to 2008, he was a public relations coordinator at the Albir Charity.

Al-Ahmari continued his education at Michigan State University, where he received a master’s degree in public relations in 2016.

Between 2017 and 2018, he worked at Samatech as a public relations consultant.

His career has been connected to King Saud University since 2008, when he was a public relations and information officer for seven months. 

Following this, he was a public relations officer while also working as a journalist.

In 2011, he started a new role as a teaching assistant, which he continues today.

In 2016, he joined the College of Arts as a public relations manager.

Al-Ahmari has also contributed to research in mental image production for companies and nonprofit organizations. 

He has presented in more than 30 official ceremonies, displaying his exceptional presentation skills, and has finished third place in the individual speech contest at the Ministry of Education.