Pakistan among four nations to receive prestigious grant to investigate COVID-19 misinformation 

In this picture taken on November 25, 2020, volunteers wait to be administered a Chinese-made vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AFP/File)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Pakistan among four nations to receive prestigious grant to investigate COVID-19 misinformation 

  • DC-based Sabin Vaccine Institute has announced grants for five research teams including two from Pakistan
  • The teams from Pakistan, India, Kenya, Uganda will receive up to $30,000 for conduct research over 10 months

KARACHI: The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin), a Washington DC-based advocacy group that works on expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, on Wednesday announced grants for five research teams, including two from Pakistan, to explore social drivers of COVID-19 misinformation and design solutions to increase vaccine acceptance.
Through this funding, the institute is encouraging collaborative, on-the-ground relationships between academic researchers, health officials and local communities.
Five research teams in India, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda will separately receive up to $30,000 to carry out research and pilot a small-scale intervention in their respective communities over a period of 10 months, according to a statement issued by the institute.
“Research projects were selected based on a rigorous application and review process, including review by Sabin Vaccine Institute experts and global experts from the immunization, global health, and social science fields,” Kaitlin Christenson, vice president of Vaccine Acceptance and Demand at Sabin, told Arab News in an email on Wednesday.
“We are pleased to feature two projects from outstanding researchers in Pakistan among our 2020 grantees, each of which was selected because of the strength of their research design and the potential for their findings to help improve vaccine acceptance in Pakistan and around the world.”
One Pakistani team will lead a virtual research project to study perceptions of, and barriers to, childhood vaccination among health care workers and caregivers at a peri-urban site in Karachi. A second team will explore misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and vaccination among urban slum dwellers in Landhi Town, Karachi.
The first research team, headed by Abdul Momin Kazi, assistant research professor in paediatrics and child health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, will also explore the role of mobile health-based interventions and social media on improving childhood immunization during COVID-19.
Dr. Fauzia Aman Malik, PhD, MSc, special adviser to the dean for global health research initiatives at Yale University, will serve as the co-investigator on the project.
The second team, headed by Rubina Qasim, MSc, a lead researcher and lecturer at Dow University of Health Science in Karachi, will employ a co-design approach, working with community members to design and implement appropriate intervention addressing COVID-19 misinformation and its impact on the acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The grants are part of Sabin’s Social and Behavioral Interventions for Vaccination Acceptance Small Grants Program, which provides funding to researchers in low- and middle-income countries to better understand the social drivers of vaccination and design small-scale interventions to assess their impact on vaccination acceptance.
“Each research project funded by the Sabin Vaccine Institute is expected to contribute to our understanding of the social drivers of vaccine acceptance across country and local-level contexts, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries,” Christenson said. “The grantees’ research findings, detailing what drives individuals to accept vaccines in specific contexts, move us toward a global future free from preventable disease.”


Pakistan says looking forward to future ‘high-level’ engagements with UAE

Updated 36 sec ago

Pakistan says looking forward to future ‘high-level’ engagements with UAE

  • Foreign minister Qureshi meets UAE ambassador, appreciates support for Pakistan’s Expo 2020 pavilion covering 3,500 square meters
  • UAE ambassador reaffirms desire for ties with Pakistan based on “mutual respect, understanding and common interests”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the ambassador of the UAE to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday and conveyed his hope for enhanced “high-level” engagements between the two nations in the future.
The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and has supported Pakistan in the areas of education, health, energy and infrastructure development over several decades. It is home to more than 1.6 million Pakistanis — the second largest Pakistani expatriate community abroad.
Recalling his successful visit to the UAE in December 2020, Qureshi underscored the importance of frequent high-level visits from both sides, “which serve to continually provide impetus toward deepening and diversifying bilateral relations.”
“He looked forward to enhanced high-level engagements with the UAE, as soon as the global health situation improved,” the foreign office said in a statement, quoting the foreign minister referring to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Qureshi paid tribute to late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who he said had “contributed immensely toward strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.”
He acknowledged that the UAE and its leadership had “steadfastly” stood by Pakistan in its times of need.
“He stressed that the relationship benefitted from the warm sentiments between the leadership of the two countries, as well as the strong people-to-people linkages rooted in shared faith, values and culture,” the foreign office said.
Qureshi also appreciated the UAE’s support for Pakistan’s pavilion at the Expo 2020, a world expo to be hosted by Dubai originally scheduled for 20 October 2020-10 April 2021 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers have kept the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.
Pakistan’s pavilion at the Expo will cover an approximate area of 3,500 square meters and exhibit Pakistani culture, investment opportunities and tourism potential in the largest exhibition ever staged in the Arab world in which 190 countries and 25 million people are expected to participate.
The UAE ambassador “hailed the strong UAE-Pakistan relations and pledged to work toward further strengthening and diversifying them in all sectors for the benefit of the two countries and their peoples. He acknowledged the positive contribution made by Pakistani Diaspora toward the progress and development of the UAE.”
The ambassador reaffirmed the UAE’s desire to develop bilateral ties with Pakistan on “the basis of mutual respect, understanding, and common interests.”