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Friday, February 27, 2004

Child Immunization Campaign

Queen Rania joins political leaders and experts to announce a global fundraising campaign to boost child immunization rates

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - London) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, member of The Vaccine Fund’s (TVF) board of directors joined political leaders and experts from TVF and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to announce a global fundraising campaign to boost child immunization rates and decrease mortality and illness from childhood diseases around the world.

Mrs. Mary Robinson, Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization Initiative, TVF President Jacques Francois Martin, Jens Stoltenberg, former Prime Minister and leader of the Norwegian Labour Party, and GAVI Executive Secretary Dr. Tore Godal also addressed the press conference marking the launch of The Grand Campaign for Child Immunization, which aims to raise a total of $400 million per year between 2004 and 2006 to fully fund GAVI’s program commitments in the world’s 75 poorest countries.

As a mother of three young children, Queen Rania underlined that the human cost of the lack of access to the most basic, cost-effective public health tool is staggering with millions of children dying each year, largely from preventable causes.

Figures show that mainly in the world’s poorest countries, 8,000 children die each day from preventable diseases, totaling three million children in the world annually and 30 million over the next ten years, because of lack of access to vaccines which would immunize them against preventable, but potentially deadly diseases.

“We are not yet finished with this lifesaving work until every child, everywhere, has access to all of the available vaccines. It will take more time, work and resources,” she said, adding that the goal of TVF’s Campaign for Child Immunization aims to raise the $400 million needed each year to continue and expand these achievements.

“Reduction of child mortality by 2/3 by 2015. I can think of no more noble – but also achievable – goal,” Queen Rania said. “I know all here support this goal, but we should all leave here today fully committed to convincing others that protection of the poorest children from preventable disease can and must be achieved,” she added.

Queen Rania commended the role of GAVI and TVF partners, donors and hard working people in dozens of countries for a job well done whose efforts have made significant contributions toward the campaign, adding that GAVI’s advocacy and financing arm, The Vaccine Fund, launched at Davos in 2000, seeks the support of governments and business leaders.

During the press conference on Friday attended by Britain’s Chief Secretary of the Treasury Paul Boateng as well as other governmental and business leaders, the Norwegian Government pledged $43 million a year until 2010 while Britain committed further support to GAVI and The Vaccine Fund underlining their pride in being a partner for the cause of saving millions of lives.

Queen Rania said GAVI was created by its partners such as UNICEF, WHO, the vaccine industry, the Gates Foundation and others, to change these terribly shocking and sad statistics. It was created to address what can only be described as the world’s largest and most preventable tragedy.

GAVI and TVF recently released their first joint annual progress report, “Every Child, Everywhere” which provides updated evidence of the success being achieved in countries as a result of GAVI’s catalytic support to the national governments.

The central theme of the report is an analysis of GAVI’s experience with an innovative partnership and results-based approach to immunization financing – and a new way of promoting economic development. The report highlights contributions by political and private sector leaders who have mobilized support for child immunization.

The 2003 GAVI-Vaccine Fund summary report highlights that since 2000 the following was achieved: 35.5 million children have been vaccinated against hepatitis B (which kills 900,000 children each year); 6 million children have been vaccinated against Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b); 2.7 million children have been vaccinated against yellow fever; 8 million more children have access to the six basic vaccines (such as DPT) and over $1 billion committed to support immunization in the world’s 75 poorest counties.
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