Nearly 200 million children in the world's poorest countries were immunised for measles and 100 million for polio thanks to a novel funding initiative launched last year, administrators said Thursday.
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIM) has yielded a doubling of available funds, Julian Lob-Levyt, executive secretary of the GAVI alliance that distributes the money, told journalists in Cape Town.
Advertisement"This has enabled us to make a significant impact on the quality of the lives of children."
The IFFIM was created last November to reduce child illness and mortality by sourcing money for immunisation. It raised nearly a billion dollars in bond issuance backed by pledges from seven governments -- France, Italy, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
South Africa became the most recent supporter with a 20 million dollar commitment, with Brazil expected to follow soon.
Future pledges from donors were converted into immediate cash through IFFIM's bond launch, the net proceeds of which were spent on immunisation and health programmes in 43 of the world's poorest countries.
IFFIM chairman Alan Gillespie told a press conference the body expected to contribute more than four billion dollars to GAVI up to 2015, enabling the prevention of 10 million deaths.
"We have a very successful groundbreaking way of raising aid money and this has in turn has caused tremendous health gains in just one year," he said.
Of the 10 million children who die before their fifth birthday every year, about a quarter succumbed to diseases that could be prevented through vaccination.
The World Health Organisation aims to reduce vaccine preventable deaths by two thirds by 2015 through expanding the use of available vaccines and the development of new ones.
This would cost an estimated 30 billion dollars, said WHO immunisation director Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele.
Chairwoman of the GAVI Fund board, Graca Machel, lauded IFFIM for its innovative way in mobilising resources for development.
"We now have not only more resources, but a reliability of resources that allows countries to plan better and lets pharmaceutical companies know that they can invest more in developing vaccines," she said.
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