Press Release from Norwegian Government
Norway to grant 1 billion kroner to campaign for childimmunization
Norways Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, today announced that Norway
would pledge 1 billion kroner, or about 125 million US dollarsover five
years in support of child immunization in developing countries.
- In Norway we take child immunization for granted. But 30 million
children grow up without vaccination. About 3 million of them will die
asa result. That amounts to six every minute - every day, every week,
every year, Mr. Stoltenberg said.
- And yet it is a story of hope. Because we can do something about it.
Norway will lend its political and financial support to the
globalinitiative to immunize every child. We will propose a grant of 200
million kroner (25 million USD) in the budget for 2001 and maintain
thatlevel of support for the next five years, the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Stoltenberg announced the donation at an international symposium
hosted by the Norwegian Government and the Global Alliance forVaccines
and Immunization (GAVI) in Oslo today. GAVI is gathering the World
Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, industryand foundations.
Norways donation follows the donation made by the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation last year of 750 million dollarsover five years to
The Prime Minister stressed that support to immunization is a support
to the development of health systems in poor countries.
- The injection of a vaccine is a powerful illustration of hope. But we
know what it takes to get to the point where a trained health worker
canprovide that injection. It takes money. It takes infrastructure. It
takes trained people. In short - it takes a health system, Mr.
Norway will focus on health systems support in cooperation with
multilateral partners such as UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank and
inbilateral cooperation with partner countries.
- Sustainable health systems can only be built if they are owned and
developed by the countries themselves, Mr. Stoltenberg said.
As a concrete example, the Prime Minister mentioned Nigeria:
- In 1990 almost 90 per cent of Nigerian children were immunized. Ten
years later that number had declined to 20 percent. During the
lastdecade the health system broke down. Enough vaccines were available.
But they never reached the ones who so badly needed them. Becausethe
generals did not care, Mr. Stoltenberg said.
- Now President Olusegun Obasanjo - elected by the aspiration of a
great people - is rebuilding that infrastructure. From the local level
to thefederal level. He shares our objective; to help immunize every
child. Norway will support the people of Nigeria in rebuilding the
healthsystem and thereby securing the foundation of democracy, the
Norwegian Prime Minister said.
President Obasanjo will visit Norway on 26 June.