Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Canada increases support to save the lives of children in developing countries

June 13, 2011

London, England—The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced Canada's continued commitment to the GAVI Alliance to help protect the lives of the world's most vulnerable children through immunization.

"Nearly 40 percent of childhood deaths can be prevented through immunization," said Minister Oda. "Canada will continue to support the work of the GAVI Alliance to immunize and save the lives of millions of children in developing countries."

The GAVI Alliance works with developing countries to strengthen national immunization programs. Over the last decade, GAVI has helped immunize more than 288 million children against life-threatening diseases, contributing to the prevention of approximately 5 million deaths.

Canada is also committed to the Advance Market Commitment, an innovative program administered by the GAVI Alliance to accelerate the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines in developing countries.

Canada is increasing its commitment to the GAVI Alliance by an additional $15 million from its original commitment of $50 million over five years. This brings Canada's total commitment to $65 million over five years.

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Information:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca


Backgrounder


Today, Minister Beverley J. Oda, while attending the GAVI Alliance Conference in London, increased Canada's commitment to the GAVI Alliance in support of Canada's Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal, newborn and child health.

The GAVI Alliance is a global health partnership focused on increasing children's access to new and under-utilized vaccines in poor countries. In its first decade, the GAVI Alliance successfully immunized some 288 million children in the world's poorest countries, preventing more than five million deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

In the future, the bulk of GAVI's support will go toward rotavirus vaccines in 44 countries and pneumococcal vaccines in 42 countries. Rotavirus diarrhea and pneumonia are two causes of child mortality that together account for more than 1.2 million child deaths annually. With full funding, GAVI's support for vaccines will prevent an additional 3.9 million deaths in just five years, a critical contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly MDG 4, which aims to reduce by two-thirds the under-five child mortality rate by 2015.

GAVI's work on immunization is at the centre of both the Muskoka Initiative and the United Nation's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.

Today's announcement of $15 million will increase Canada's original $50-million pledge to GAVI made last fall to a total of $65 million.