Cameron pledges more money to fund child vaccines


David Cameron: "I think there is a strong moral case for keeping our promises to the world's poorest."

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged £814m to help vaccinate children around the world against preventable diseases like pneumonia.

He made the announcement at a summit in London where countries were being asked to give an extra £2.3bn ($3.7bn) by 2015 for child vaccines.

Donor countries have agreed to commit more than this - $4.3bn.

The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation says this could help save four million lives in four years.

The UK has already given more, £2bn over 30 years, than any other nation towards immunising some of the world's poorest children against life-threatening diseases.

The extra £814m ($1.3bn) comes on top of the UK's existing commitment of £680m between 2011 and 2015.

Hosting the conference alongside Mr Cameron, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates said he would be giving $1bn to help the campaign.

Start Quote

The cost-effectiveness of immunisation is likely to be one of many arguments put forward at the conference ”

End Quote Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent, BBC News

Mr Cameron said there was a "strong moral case" for keeping pledges Britain had made to the developing world, no matter the economic circumstances at home.

"Today we come together because we have the chance to save another four million lives."

He said the idea of children dying from pneumonia and diarrhoea should be "unthinkable" in 2011.

"To those who say fine but we should put off seeing through those promises to another day because right now we can't afford to help: I say - we can't afford to wait."

Two million under-fives die from pneumonia alone each year despite the existence of a vaccine to protect them.

It is estimated that three times as many children aged under five die from pneumonia and diarrhoea than from malaria and HIV/Aids combined, despite new vaccines being available to help prevent such deaths. However, many developing countries cannot afford them.


Drugs company GlaxoSmithKline last week agreed to sell a vaccine for diarrhoeal disease at cost price to poorer nations, and some other firms have since made similar moves.

Graphic showing causes of child deaths

GAVI has already rolled out a range of vaccines to children in 72 countries but the organisation says it needs the extra money to vaccinate even more children against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus.

Resources will also be spent on trying to reach millions of the poorest children who are missing out on basic vaccines against diseases such as measles, whooping cough and tetanus.

GAVI is a health partnership of governments, businesses, and bodies including the World Bank, Unicef and Mr Gates' personal foundation.

Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates: "In the achievement of vaccine equality this is a very important day"

The philanthropist Mr Gates said: "I just wanna thank everybody for this incredible milestone. Four hours is a long time but if you can save four million lives in four hours it's well worth every minute.

"For the first time in history, children in developing countries will receive the same vaccines against diarrhea and pneumonia as children in rich countries."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I have worked for many years in the Humanitarian industry. It is true that the greatest reason for high birth rates in places like Africa is high mortality/morbidity rates. Parents depend on their children to look after them in thier old age as pensions are unheard of in Africa. However, there also needs to be access to education so that people have the chance to escape poverty too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Whilst the UK is under financial pressure I feel we have a moral responsibility to help those weaker and in need.

    However, western governments have consistently failed to link aid to social and welfare reform in developing nations. As such the cycle of poverty and disease will continue in 3rd world countries until effective reform is implemented.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    I think those that are posting on this feed with hateful and negative comments about these donations should just stop to think about how even the poorest people in the UK know nothing of poverty in comparison to those in third world counties. We may not be economically stable but we are still in a position to help... and why shouldn't we!

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Now more children will be saved to grow up in drought, famine and poverty! Which we we have to pay for throughout their lives to feed, water and provide for. More needs to be done to fight the corruption in these countries so that real aid can get to the people that need it and help to grow their economies into self sustaining democracies which aren't reliant on western handouts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    The comments on here make me pretty sick. "Overpopulation is bad, so we shouldn't bother saving anyone", and "We're making cuts so why are we increasing aid?". This country clearly doesn't know what poverty is. No one here is going to die because they have no food, or don't have access to vaccines, have some compassion, we're talking about life and death here not someone's benefits.


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