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article imageBill Gates and Abu Dhabi prince to give vaccines to Afghans, Pakistanis

By KJ Mullins     Jan 26, 2011 in Health
Today, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced they are working together to provide vaccinations to children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Each partner is committing to provide $50 million to buy and deliver the vaccinations Afghan and Pakistani children need to fight disease.
"Like all children, the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan deserve the quality of health and opportunities that childhood immunization can provide," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in a press release. "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."
Children in these two nations are vulnerable to diseases such as polio and pneumonia. Families face challenges from internal conflicts, unequal health services and natural disasters like last year's floods in Pakistan that result in children not being vaccinated. In Afghanistan, only three out of four children live to see their fifth birthday, and infant and under-five mortality rates are among the highest in the world.
"Vaccines protect children from many life-threatening childhood diseases, providing the best way to give a child a healthy start to life," said 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."
Synchronized National Immunization Day in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Black/W...
Synchronized National Immunization Day in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Black/WHO
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Two-thirds of the funds will be given to the GAVI Alliance to purchase and deliver pentavalent vaccine and for the introduction of the new pneumococcal vaccine in Afghanistan.
This vaccine will protect children under five from pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB), which causes meningitis. Those diseases are the largest cause of early childhood deaths. The remaining funds ($34 million) will be given to WHO and UNICEF to deliver polio vaccine to children in both nations.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are two of only four nations in the world where polio transmission has yet to be stopped. Elsewhere, polio has been reduced by 99 percent over the past two decades.
More about Gates Foundation, Sheikh mohammed bin zayed, Polio, Vaccines, Pakistan
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