His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Partner to Immunize ChildrenBy Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, PRNE
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Together pledge $100 million to fight preventable diseases in Afghanistan and Pakistan
SEATTLE and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, January 26, 2011 - His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu
Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Bill Gates,
Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced today they are
working together to provide life-saving vaccinations to children in
Afghanistan and Pakistan. The partnership commits a total of $100 million -
$50 million from each partner - for the purchase and delivery of vital
vaccines that will save Afghan and Pakistani children and prevent disease for
"Like all children, the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan deserve the
quality of health and opportunities that childhood immunization can provide.
The personal, community, national and international benefits that will result
from a generation growing up protected from preventable diseases have the
potential to resonate for generations to come," said Sheikh Mohammed bin
Children in Afghanistan and Pakistan are especially vulnerable to
preventable diseases, such as polio and pneumonia. Challenges in reaching
them include conflict in the region, unequal health services and immunization
levels among provinces within each country and, in the case of Pakistan, a
slow recovery from last year's devastating floods.
"Vaccines protect children from many life-threatening childhood diseases,
providing the best way to give a child a healthy start to life," said Mr.
Gates. "This partnership is a powerful example of how collaboration by the
global community can help build a healthier, more stable future for Afghan
and Pakistani children, their families and communities."
One in four children in Afghanistan does not survive to see his or her
fifth birthday, making infant and under-five mortality rates in that country
among the world's highest.
Of the total funds, two-thirds will be given to the GAVI Alliance for the
purchase and delivery of the pentavalent vaccine and for the introduction of
the new pneumococcal vaccine in Afghanistan. These vaccines help protect
children from the biggest killers of children under five, including
pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B, and
Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB), which causes meningitis.
The remaining $34 million of the allocated funds will be directed to the
World Health Organization and UNICEF to deliver polio vaccines in Afghanistan
and Pakistan. Although worldwide polio has been reduced by 99 percent during
the past 20 years, Afghanistan and Pakistan are two of only four countries
where polio transmission has never been stopped. To date, there has been a
cycle of re-infection of this crippling disease between the populations of
the two countries.
The partnership will result in the immunization of approximately five
million children in Afghanistan against six deadly diseases, and will help
the World Health Organization and UNICEF workers reach approximately 35
million children in Afghanistan and Pakistan with oral polio vaccines.
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In
developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them
the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the
United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the
fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in
school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO
Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill
and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more at
www.gatesfoundation.org or join the conversation on Facebook
(www.facebook.com/billmelindagatesfoundation) and Twitter
UAE Humanitarian Support for Afghanistan and Pakistan
In 2009, widespread insecurity, increased violence, poverty, chronic
underdevelopment and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods have
contributed to intensifying Afghanistan's underlying food insecurity; the
2007-2008 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment found that 7.4 million
people - nearly a third of the population - were unable to get enough food to
live active, healthy lives.
The UAE committed more than AED 1.26 billion (US$343.4 MILLION) in aid to
Afghanistan in 2009, representing 14 per cent of the UAE's total foreign aid
during the year. Although a number of UAE donors were active in Afghanistan,
almost 73 per cent of assistance (AED 918.3 million) was in the form of
grants administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Most of that money
(AED 863.2 million) was allocated to construction, with the remainder going
to transport and storage. Some AED 26.8 million went towards social
infrastructure and services.
The UAE continues to make a significant humanitarian contribution in
Afghanistan, and has done so since 2003. Through organizations such as the
Red Crescent, the generous donations made by UAE citizens and volunteers have
contributed to the construction of:
-- 11 schools educating 300 students per day; -- Six medical clinics which have treated 35,000 Afghan patients; -- Zayed University, Afghanistan, serving over 6,400 students per year; -- A major hospital with an annual capacity of 7,000 patients; -- 38 mosques each providing a prayer service for over 300 people; -- A general public library serving more than 400 students and visitors per day; -- Accommodation in Zayed City for 200 displaced families; and, -- 160 wells providing healthy drinking water.
In 2009, nearly two million people were uprooted from their homes in the
Swat valley, South Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan's Northwest
frontier province as a result of clashes between the Pakistan Army and the
Taliban. Furthermore, 20 million people were displaced as a result of the
flooding in the Punjab region in the Northeast of Pakistan.
The needs of the Pakistani people far exceeded the capacity of the
Pakistan government and provoked a major response from the UAE. In total,
Pakistan received commitments of AED 1.60 billion from UAE donors. In
addition, the UAE army sent three UAE Chinooks to deliver aid and run relief
missions in remote areas of Pakistan that were devastated by the floods.
The Government committed grants worth AED 998.5 million to be
administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, in response to project
proposals presented by the Government of Pakistan. Of the assistance that has
been allocated, more than half was spent on health programs, and nearly a
third going to general humanitarian aid, a sector which includes emergency
response, reconstruction and disaster preparedness.
The Khalifa Foundation made a number of contributions in response to the
immediate needs of the displaced, including one major contribution to the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) worth more than AED
55.1 million, which was fully spent during the year.
The government further contributed AED 590.6 million during the year,
more than two thirds of which was directed towards health projects. The UAE
Red Crescent Authority also contributed more than AED 20.5 million.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, media at gatesfoundation.org, +1-206-709-3400; Simon.pearce at eaa.gov.ae, +971-50-8181-627
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