BERLIN, Jan. 27, 2015 /CNW/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a five-year, US$1.55 billion commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to bring life-saving vaccines to children in the world's poorest countries. The commitment was announced at the Gavi Replenishment Conference in Berlin, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the conference, US$7.5 billion in pledges were made, the largest-ever financial commitment to support childhood immunization.
The funding will enable Gavi to reach an additional 300 million children with vaccines by 2020, and save up to 6 million lives by protecting them from life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, measles and severe diarrhea.
"Vaccines are one of the best investments in children's health and well-being, which is why Gavi is the foundation's single largest investment," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The new funding announced today allows Gavi to give children everywhere a healthy start at life."
Since Gavi was launched in 2000, it has achieved remarkable results, reaching half a billion children with immunizations, and saving the lives of 7 million children. Yet despite this great progress, one in five children worldwide still do not receive the vaccines they need.
Gates also applauded the commitments made by developing countries, whose work drives national immunization programs, donors, the private sector, and others. "All of us have the responsibility to build on the great progress that's been made to date and expand vaccination coverage and reach every child."
"Thanks to our donors, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will be able to support developing countries to protect the lives of hundreds of millions of children," said Dagfinn Høybråten, chair of the Gavi Board. "We believe that vaccines should reach every child because this is one of the most effective ways of reducing preventable deaths in the poorest countries. The commitments made today will ensure Gavi can make a telling contribution towards the global community's goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030."
The foundation's pledge to Gavi announced today includes US$1.475 billion for core funding, and up to $75 million toward the renewal of the Gavi Matching Fund. The fund is an initiative designed to encourage private sector contributions to the delivery of life-saving vaccines to children in the world's poorest countries. Since 2000, the foundation has committed a total of more than US$4 billion to Gavi.
For more information, see the press release from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Bill Gates' remarks from the Gavi Replenishment Conference can be found here.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
For further information: +1 206-709-3400, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.gatesfoundation.org