Ms Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor (Photo Courtesy: www.surenews.com)
Hundreds of millions of children living in the world's poorest countries will receive life-saving vaccines as a result of record-breaking financial commitments made on January 27, 2015, at the Gavi Pledging Conference, hosted in Berlin by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The new pledges, totaling $7.5 billion, will enable countries to immunize an additional 300 million children, leading to 5 to 6 million premature deaths being averted and economic benefits of between $80 and $100 billion for developing countries through productivity gains and savings in treatment and transportation costs and caretaker wages.
Chancellor Merkel was joined in Berlin by Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali, Ms Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, Mr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ministers from more than 20 implementing and donor countries, civil society groups, CEOs of vaccine manufacturing companies, UN agencies and others who came together to secure commitments to fully fund Gavi-supported immunization programmes in developing countries between 2016 and 2020.
In her statement at the conference, the first event of Germany's G7 presidency, Chancellor Merkel said: "There is a long way still to go but today's conference is an important milestone in the work of Gavi for the next few years to come. Please let us not fail, let us not lose courage but continue to put all our efforts into this wonderful work and thank all of those who are committed to this goal."
"Today is a great day for children in the world's poorest countries who will now receive the life-saving vaccines they need," said Bill Gates. "We believe in the next 15 years, poor people's lives will improve faster than any other period in history and that access to vaccines provided by Gavi are critical to making that happen."