Wednesday, October 17 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CANADA SUPPORTS GLOBAL ALLIANCE TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD DISEASES
OTTAWA Maria Minna, Canadas Minister for International Cooperation, today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide $10 million over three years to support the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a public and private sector partnership formed to combat preventable childhood diseases through immunization in the least developed countries.
This is the latest of a series of Canadian contributions to help reduce the mortality rate of young children. CIDA has committed some $50 million between 2000 and 2005.
Minister Minna made the announcement today with Gro Harlem Bruntland, President of the World Health Organization, Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, and Jacques-François Martin, of the Vaccine Fund.
"Immunization is one of the most cost-effective health procedures available and has been the most successful public health measure over the last century, breaking the cycle of disease and poverty, and contributing to a healthy and stable world," Minister Minna said.
"Canadas support highlights how important it is for countries to take responsibility for the success of GAVI," Dr. Bruntland said. "That is to say, Canadas strong commitment to global health, and immunization in particular, is and will continue to have a major impact."
"The world is realizing more than ever that infectious disease has no borders and that prevention is our best defence," Ms. Bellamy said. "GAVI partners and the Vaccine Fund are working together to ensure that every child, everywhere has at least the basic vaccines. Our mission is to help countries strengthen their delivery systems to be able to provide vaccines traditional ones as well as new ones as efficiently as possible."
"We are grateful that Canada has become the sixth government contributor to The Vaccine Fund," said Mr. Martin "Preventive vaccines are the world's best value in health care. CIDA's contribution will allow us to reach many of the three million people, most of them children, who die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases."
More than 3 million children die each year from preventable diseases. Canada is committed to reducing the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015, one of the internationally agreed upon Millennium Development Goals.
GAVI works to strengthen basic immunization services as well as expanding the use of new and underused vaccines where they address a public health problem. It will also support research for developing new vaccines against diseases such as malaria, AIDS or tuberculosis. Members include the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Children Vaccine Program and Foundation, the vaccine R&D industry, donor governments and the governments of developing countries.
Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2000 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing financial framework.
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: 819 953-3160
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Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819 953-6534