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U.S. Contributes $75 Million for Childhood Immunization

WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday contributed $75 million to improve and expand children's immunization programs in developing countries.

The contribution is part of the overall U.S. commitment to global health and the new global health initiative, a 6-year, $63 billion dollar effort announced by President Obama in May.

The grant was announced by Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Board of Directors Meeting at the World Bank.

"When children escape disease, they have a fighting chance to thrive and attend school," said Lew. "As they grow into healthy adults, they can then contribute to the development of more vibrant and productive societies. Ensuring better health for the world's children is an investment in the prospects of the next generation. Today's children will become tomorrow's doctors, scientists, engineers and leaders."

The contribution brings the total U.S. commitment to $569 million to the GAVI effort. The U.S., through USAID, also serves on the GAVI Alliance Board, and provides technical guidance at the international and country levels.

Since GAVI's launch nine years ago, more than three million premature deaths have been prevented, global immunization rates have risen by 10 percent, and approximately $4 billion has been committed to countries and immunization programs for vaccine procurement and delivery and strengthening of health systems.

To date, vaccines that have been funded by GAVI include vaccines against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hepatitis B, pneumonia, measles and yellow fever. GAVI and its partners are preparing to finance the introduction of two new vaccines into the poorest countries, against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus. Together, pneumococcal diseases and rotavirus account for more than one million child deaths each year; a majority of these deaths can be prevented with existing vaccines. Support for GAVI-financed vaccines will enable countries to make significant progress toward the Millennium Development Goals between now and 2015.

Since the 1970s, USAID has worked with partners across the globe to confront that challenge and help immunize children in remote and underdeveloped parts of the world. Over the decades tens of millions of infants and children have gained protection from disease.

Public Information: 202-712-4810

SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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