For Immediate Release
17 July 2000
VACCINE FUND NAMES PRESIDENT
Norway and United Kingdom Join Effort with Major Donations to Help Immunize the Worlds Children
(Lyon, France and Seattle, Washington, USA) Jacques-François Martin has been named president of the Vaccine Fund. The Vaccine Fund provides lifesaving vaccines and other immunization program support to low-income countries. Launched in 1999 with a $750 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Vaccine Fund works in close collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) a partnership of key international agencies and national governments.
Mr. Martins appointment comes on the heels of two major donations to the Vaccine Fund. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced recently that his government would contribute 1 billion kroner, approximately $125 million, to the Vaccine Fund over the next five years. The United Kingdom also pledged 3 million pounds ($5 million) for the current year.
The Norwegian and British commitments represent the first major sources of funding from national governments. The Clinton Administration has asked Congress for $50 million this year to support the effort.
Mr. Martin, currently Chairman and CEO of Parteurop, a biotech consulting company, will lead the effort to increase Fund resources to $1.8 billion over the next five years. An estimated 3 million lives are lost each year to vaccine-preventable diseases. Most of them are children from the worlds poorest countries.
"This is an exciting time to be joining the Vaccine Fund," said Mr. Martin. "I am hopeful that the recent financial commitments from Norway and the United Kingdom will energize our efforts and encourage others to step forward."
"I am pleased to welcome Jacques-François to the Vaccine Fund," said Dr. Gordon Perkin, Secretary of the Vaccine Fund and Director of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "We could not have found a more capable and committed leader to steer our course."
The need for additional immunization resources is clear. Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chair of the GAVI Board, articulated, "More than one-quarter of children born each year in low-income countries have not been receiving basic immunization. The time has come to solve this serious global health problem and reduce the three million deaths every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Over the past two decades we've learned important lessons about immunization strategies both good and bad that we will now use to set a new course for improving health outcomes for all the world's children."
Mr. Martin has a long history in biotechnology and public health. He was CEO of Rhone-Poulenc Pharma in Hamburg, Germany before joining Institut Mérieux as vice-president of sales and marketing in 1976. He became CEO of Pasteur-Mérieux in 1998, where he was instrumental in the merger with Connaught Laboratories Ltd in Toronto. In 1991, he set up Parteurop and became a senior consultant to Chiron and to the biotech industry. From 1996 to 1999, Mr.Martin was a member of the board of the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale. He currently is a member of the GAVI Working Group and the Strategic Advisory Council of the Bill & Melinda Gates Childrens Vaccine Program and is a board member of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
GAVI and Fund website: www.vaccinealliance.org
The Vaccine Fund, a new financing resource that was created with an initial $750 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is now also receiving support from donor governments. The Vaccine Fund provides financial support directly to low-income countries to strengthen their immunization services and to purchase new and under-used vaccines. In the future, Fund resources may also be used to accelerate the development of vaccines for diseases responsible for significant mortality in developing countries, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and acute respiratory diseases. While the Vaccine Fund has its own Board and management for fiduciary and fundraising responsibilities, decisions about programs to receive support will be made by the GAVI Board.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is a coalition of organizations formed in 1999 in response to stagnating global immunization rates and widening disparities in vaccine access among industrialized and developing countries. The partners include: national governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA), research and public health institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).