Development ministry pledges four million Euros to GAVI

Geneva/Berlin, 28 November 2008 - To further protect millions of children in the developing world against life-threatening diseases, the Government of Germany has committed an additional four million Euros to the GAVI Alliance.

The German Parliament approved the commitment this week of a one-year grant to GAVI (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation). This brings the total support provided by the German Development Ministry to 12 million Euros since 2006.

"Since its start in 2000, GAVI - as a partnership of developing countries, donor countries, UN organisations, researchers, NGOs and private sector - has made a significant contribution to the reduction of child mortality in developing countries," Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said. "213 million children have been vaccinated through GAVI-funded programmes and 3.4 million premature deaths will be averted."

GAVI Alliance Executive Secretary Dr Julian Lob-Levyt welcomed the German donation and said he hoped he could count on Germany's support in future.

"We are delighted to see Germany once again joining other G8 members, like the United States, the United Kingdom and France, who provide long-term commitments to GAVI," he said. "Additional supporters are crucial in order for us to continue to make an impact on life-threatening diseases such as Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B and pertussis.

The Alliance will require US$ 3 billion through 2015 in order to continue existing programmes and expand support to four new vaccines against cervical cancer, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and rubella.

Ms Wieczorek-Zeul stressed the need to keep health issues high on the international development agenda - despite the economic crisis.

"We can only reach the Millennium Development Goals if industrialised and developing countries fulfill their obligations. Enormous investments in health are necessary to reduce child and maternal mortality," she said.

Dr Lob-Levyt added that GAVI would also welcome technical support from the German Government. "The expertise of German organisations, such as GTZ, is very welcome. We'd be pleased if Germany took a stronger role within the Alliance."

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