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Hoping to prevent the deaths of eight million children over the next decade, Bill and Melinda Gates recently committed $10 billion for child-immunization programs in the world's poorest countries.
Hoping to prevent the deaths of eight million children over the next decade, Bill and Melinda Gates recently committed $10 billion for child-immunization programs in the world’s poorest countries.
The money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be used for research, development, and delivery of life-saving vaccines, including new vaccines to prevent severe diarrhea and pneumonia.
“We must make this the decade of vaccines,” Bill Gates said in announcing the pledge during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Switzerland. “Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.”
The Gateses believe more investment in childhood immunizations will dramatically reduce preventable deaths in poor countries and urged governments and the private sector to increase their efforts.
“Vaccines are a miracle. With just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime,” Melinda Gates said at the forum. “We’ve seen firsthand their incredible impact on children’s lives.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccination rates are rising and deaths from measles and other childhood conditions are declining. Between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of children receiving DTP3 vaccine in the poorest countries jumped to 79% from 66%, according to WHO statistics. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of people who died of measles worldwide fell by 77% and measles deaths in Africa fell by 92%.
See related blog post, “Another Boost for Vaccines"