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$35 billion needed globally for immunization

tribute generously. Another 10 million lives could be saved if an additional $ 1 billion is spent on child and maternal immunization between 2006-2015, experts said.

A public-private alliance set up five years ago with contributions from 11 nations and several organisations, the GAVI partners envisage reducing by two-thirds child mortality caused due to vaccine preventable diseases like malaria, rotavirus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B (HIB).

Many of the vaccines against these diseases have been in use in the developed countries for the last 15 years, but have failed to reach the poor nations mainly due to their high cost.

Currently, the poorest countries finance one-third of their immunisation expenses on an average.

Of the estimated $35 billion, 15 percent would be needed to buy the vaccines available and those being developed, and the rest to strengthen the system to take the vaccine to the children, Director of Immunisation at the World Health Organization, Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele told reporters.

The total amount spent by GAVI on vaccines will rise from about $350 million a year in 2005 to $1.5 billion by 2015 as the coverage is expanded with vaccines currently used and new vaccines.

"Our target is to make the vaccines in the rich nations available to the poor nations and reach out to 15 million additional children over the next ten years," Lob-Levyt said.

The introduction of new vaccines in the national immunisation programs of poor nations has seen the expenditure rise from $2.5 per child from $5, he said. In the last five years, GAVI has supported immunisation of 100 million additional children with new generation vaccines.

A key component of GAVI's expansion drive over the next decade is to involve the pharmaceutical sector in the developing countries like India in research and development of some new vaccines like rotavirus, malaria, HIV and Japanese
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