The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that they will commit $10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries (read more). The Foundation estimates that increased vaccination could save more than 8 million children by 2020.
“We must make this the decade of vaccines,” said Bill Gates. “Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.”
Bill and Melinda Gates said their pledge was inspired by the remarkable progress made on vaccines in recent years. For example:
- Record-breaking vaccine access: New WHO data show that global vaccination rates have reached all-time highs.
- Improved routine immunization: Partnerships focused on reducing diseases like polio and measles are also helping build a stronger foundation for the delivery of both new and existing vaccines.
- New vaccine introduction: Important new vaccines for the two leading causes of global child deaths—severe diarrhea and pneumonia—are becoming available.
- R&D momentum: The vaccine research and development pipeline is more robust than ever.
Many of the recent advances in vaccine development and delivery have been driven by public-private partnerships such as the GAVI Alliance and the Rotavirus Vaccine Program at PATH, which coordinate the resources and expertise of vaccine companies, donors, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, and developing countries.
This commitment by the Gates Foundation follows the recent release of two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine which estimated that vaccines against rotavirus could save 2 million children over the next decade. The studies showed that vaccinating babies against rotavirus significantly cut deaths from diarrhea — by 61 percent in Africa and by 35 percent in Mexico.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Public health | Tagged: access to medicines, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI Alliance, malaria, neglected diseases, Public health, public-private partnerships, rotavirus, vaccine | Leave a Comment »