Bill Gates, Crown Prince Of Abu Dhabi Announce $100M Pledge For Vaccines For Afghan, Pakistani Children
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,Â andÂ Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayanm, theÂ crown prince of Abu Dhabi, “pledged $100 million Wednesday to deliver vaccines to children in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Reuters reports (1/26).
Gates and Sheikh MohammedÂ each committedÂ $50 millionÂ “for the purchase and delivery of vital vaccines” for children inÂ Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a Gates Foundation press releaseÂ (1/25). TheÂ Wall Street Journal reportsÂ that the “largest chunk of the $100 million pledged Wednesday will be focused on increasing the number of Afghan children that get vaccinated for a broad number of diseases, including hepatitis B, diphtheria and whooping cough. The money also will support delivery of a new vaccine for pneumococcal disease, which causes pneumonia, one of the main killers of children world-wide. A smaller amount, $34 million, is focused on fighting polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, both conflict nations stuck in a cycle of reinfection between their populations”Â (Malas, 1/26).
“We’re trying to get the current donors to step up a bit to make sure funding doesn’t hold us back, and having new donors like Abu Dhabi is a very positive thing,” Gates said, the Wall Street Journal reports, noting that Gates is expected to “press the case [on Friday] at the World Economic Forum … that investing in preventing disease can aid the long-term stability of developing nations.”
At the forum inÂ Davos, Switzerland, Gates “will argue that the targeted investments his foundation supportsâ€”getting vaccinations to the people who most need them and wiping out cases of polioâ€”have dramatic knock-on effects that even budget-conscious governments cannot ignore.”
He is also expected toÂ “announce a polio-related milestone with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron,” the newspaper writes (1/26).Â In an interview withÂ Reuters, Gates said: “The polio campaign requires about a billion dollars a year, and for 2011/2012, about $700 million of that is unfunded. …Â We won’t get rid of it all in these next two weeks, but it would tragic if the financing was the reason this thing failed,” he added (Kelland, 1/24).Â
In a story looking atÂ theÂ viability ofÂ polio eradication, the Associated Press/MSNBCÂ reportsÂ that some “public health experts warned that more money won’t solve all of the problems facing polio eradication.” The news service hasÂ perspectives from the person who led the WHO’s smallpox eradication effort and a Columbia University economist who studies polio (Cheng, 1/24).