ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - January 25, 2011: HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (right) receives Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at the Al Bateen Palace. (Philip Cheung / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi).
Geneva, 26 January 2011 - A new partnership marking broader global collaboration around vaccines injects needed funding into the GAVI Alliance's efforts to help save millions of children and hopefully inspires other philanthropists to invest in childhood immunisation programmes.
Announced in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation entered into a partnership in which each committed US$ 50 million for immunisation programmes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Of the total US$ 100 million, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), will receive US$ 66 million to buy and deliver additional supplies of the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine and to support the introduction of new pneumococcal vaccines in Afghanistan. These vaccines help protect children from the main killers of children under five, including pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), which causes meningitis.
"Private donations like this send a clear signal to our government donors that they are not alone in seeing the value of immunisation. If we are to fulfill our promise to all children, the GAVI Alliance needs to raise an extra US$ 3.7 billion for immunisation in the run up to 2015. We hope this commitment will inspire all concerned to invest even more to save and protect young lives," said Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair of the GAVI Alliance board.
Private donations like this send a clear signal to our government donors that they are not alone in seeing the value of immunisation.
Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair of the GAVI Alliance board
Backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and an increasing number of sovereign governments since its launch in 2000, the GAVI Alliance has succeeded in immunising more than 288 million children, preventing more than five million premature deaths, according to WHO figures.
If fully funded, the GAVI Alliance will be able to immunise an additional 230 million children with pentavalent vaccine by 2015, and protect 90 million children with new pneumococcal vaccines which are already being introduced in the first of more than 40 developing countries. GAVI also plans to introduce vaccines against rotavirus in 33 countries.
The bulk of GAVI's funds come from 16 sovereign governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GAVI Campaign works to secure funds from private donors and other partners, including Spain's "la Caixa" Foundation.
"I sincerely hope that other potential donors will recognise this inspired investment as a call to action," said Paul O'Connell, Chairman of the Campaign. "If you want to provide children with a healthy start in life and enable them to grow up to build strong communities, then immunisation is one of the most cost-effective and proven ways to do it," he said.