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Press Statement by Former South African President Mandela and Graca Machel

15 April 2004 - Former President Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, met with Mr Jens Stoltenberg former Prime Minister of Norway earlier this morning. Mr Stoltenberg who is also member of the Vaccine Fund Board and co-chair of the development committee of the Vaccine Fund briefed Mr Mandela and Mrs Machel on the Global Campaign for Child Immunization which was launched in London on 26 February 2004. (Mr Mandela is Chairman of the International Vaccine Fund Board and Mrs Machel is the Vice-Chair of the Board.)

Following this meeting, Mr Mandela and Mrs Machel jointly issued the following statement:

“Our dear friend and fellow Vaccine Fund board member, Jens Stoltenberg, and we have discussed the progress of The Global Campaign for Child Immunization, launched earlier this year. We also have reviewed the progress of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, GAVI, a partnership which leads the introduction of new vaccines into the world’s poorest countries, such as against Hepatitis B, a disease that kills over 600,000 people a year.

There is great progress to report and a challenge as well, The good news is that the GAVI partnership, which includes UNICEF, WHO, donor and developing country governments, The Vaccine Fund and others, is working and producing great results in just four years.

  • 35 million children immunized against Hepatitis B

  • 8 million children now have access to immunization for the first time

  • 500,000 child lives are being saved

  • More than 1 billion US Dollars committed to support the efforts of national governments to deliver vaccines to their children. Nine donor governments and the European Union are contributing funds to fuel this progress. Norway has just increased its support by 50%. I congratulate the Norwegian Government and Mr. Stoltenberg for your global leadership on behalf of the world’s children.

The challenge is that additional funds are needed to continue GAVI’s important, lifesaving work. The Campaign for Child Immunization seeks to raise a total of $400 million a year between 2004 and 2006 to support GAVI’s effort to reach every child in the 75 poorest countries with Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever and HiB vaccines. The goal is to save the lives of an additional 1 million children over the next three years. This is truly a noble cause. We urge all donor governments and the European Union to seize the opportunity presented by GAVI’s success and to contribute to GAVI and this winning campaign”.

It is widely speculated that Mr Stoltenberg is likely to be re-elected as the Prime Minister for Norway.

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