GAVI provides access to vaccines for some of the world’s poorest children. (Click here to see which countries are eligible for GAVI support.)
Measles kills an estimated 430 people every day, mostly in developing countries but can be prevented by safe and effective vaccines. Women infected with the rubella virus in the early stages of pregnancy have a 90% of passing it to their unborn baby, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) often which leads to serious birth defects.
As part of the collaboration, Lions Clubs around the world will mobilise their vast networks of volunteers to raise funds and awareness of the need to control infectious diseases through vaccination.
“This new partnership will bring us another step closer to effectively tackling measles and rubella, two serious infectious diseases,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance.
“Teaming up with the vast network of Lions Clubs worldwide will allow GAVI to immunise more children with the measles-rubella vaccine, ultimately reducing the number of measles deaths and cases of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.”
Lions Clubs International are part of a growing coalition of private and not-for-profit organisations that view immunisation as a key development tool for raising standards of health and quality of life in poor countries.
The partnership makes Lions Clubs the largest member of the GAVI Matching Fund, which now has secured more than US$145 million in private sector gifts and donor matches. Lions Clubs is the Matching Fund’s 10th member.
“We are grateful for the continued and generous commitment of Lions Clubs International and its members to improving the health of the world’s poorest children,” said Bill Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “This partnership will help us urgently reach all children, no matter where they live, with the vaccines they need.”
This sentiment was echoed by Justine Greening, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development. “Giving the measles vaccine to children is one of the simplest things we can do to protect them from the disease and its dreadful consequences,” she said “The funds raised by Lions Members and matched by the UK will mean that millions of children will lead healthier and happier lives, able to better contribute to their communities.”
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