(Photo: Reuters/Simon Akam)
International donors led by the U.K. and Bill Gates have pledged $4.3 billion to provide vaccines to 250 million children across the world's poorest countries at a fund-raising conference in London Monday.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (G.A.V.I.) has been held in a drive to prevent millions of premature deaths in the coming years by providing relatively cheap and easily available vaccines to the world's poorest regions.
The U.K. led the way for donors from across the globe with Prime Minister David Cameron pledging $1.3 billion to the scheme, which was just under a third of the total raised.
Astonishingly the U.K.'s new pledge was an additional sum that will be paid on top of $1.1 billion it had already pledged to be given by 2015.
Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who helped establish G.A.V.I. a decade ago, also vowed to give $1 billion over the next five years.
Gates said at a news conference: “This is absolutely human generosity at its finest. For the first time in history, children in developing countries will receive the same vaccines against diarrhea and pneumonia as children in rich countries.”
The World Health Organization has estimated that 2-3 million people are saved each year through immunizations.
G.A.V.I. has reported that its works alone have prevented more than 5 million deaths over the past decade through its immunization programs.
Studies have revealed that if 90% of children living in the 70 poor countries G.A.V.I. is supporting were to be fully immunized, approximately 6.4 million children would be saved over the next 10 years. That would also save more than $151 billion that otherwise would have been spent on other treatments required for those same people through not being vaccinated. The total economic benefits of this would be in excess of $230 billion.
The following is the list of just some of the main donations:
U.K. $1335 million
Norway $677 million
U.S.A. $450 million
Sweden $201 million
Netherlands $175 million
Australia $149 million
France $146 million
Germany $73 million
Italy $25 million