Davos, Switzerland, January 31
Advocating the need of mass vaccinations worldwide, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced at World Economic Forum in Switzerland that they will donate $10 billion over the next 10 years in the field of vaccine research and distribution.
The money perhaps the largest contribution by the foundation, almost twice the sum given over the last five years, will go into making vaccinations and delivering them in the developing world to save millions of lives from various diseases.
"We must make this the decade of vaccines," Gates said in a statement. "Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before."
Aim: Improve immunization worldwide
The aim of the organization is to improve immunization by eradicating global inequity and provide inoculation facilities to the kids in dire need.
Millions of kids belonging to poor countries are vulnerable to diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria which can be fatal, but unfortunately they do not have easy access to the life saving vaccines.
According to foundation, the donation could help save up to 7.6 million kids below five years through 2019. In addition, 1.1 million kids would be saved if a malaria vaccine is introduced by 2014 and a tuberculosis vaccine would slash even more deaths.
Melinda declared, “Vaccines are a miracle. With just a few doses they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime. We’ve made vaccines our priority because we’ve seen first-hand their incredible impact on children’s lives.”
Support needed from all quarters
Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) applauded the commitment by the Gates foundation in vaccine innovation to save lives and protect children where care is beyond reach.
The large sum contributed by the foundation should encourage governments and businesses to pitch in finances for research to boost immunization against preventable ailments in a bid to improve public health.
Levine pointed out, "The Gates Foundation cannot achieve the full promise of vaccines on its own. Manufacturers must increase their investments in vaccine research and development, donor countries must mobilize to help fund new vaccines, and developing countries must make the investments and take the steps necessary for delivering life-saving vaccines to their children."
He added, "Now more than ever and in light of the opportunities provided by the Gates Foundation's commitment, we urge all parties to work together to ensure access to life saving vaccines to those who need them worldwide.