The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced one of the largest donations in history: $10 billion to be spent on vaccines for children in developing countries over the next ten years. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Gates called for a ‘decade of vaccines’ to reduce child mortality dramatically by 2020. The money will go to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and will, say Bill and Melinda Gates, save an estimated 8 million lives.
The foundation is already a significant investor in vaccines, having committed some $4.5 billion to the area. The announcement of the donation follows hard on the heels of Bill Gates’ second annual letter as full-time co-chair of the foundation, in which he talks of his belief in the power of innovation. ‘With vaccines, drugs and other improvements, health in poor countries will continue to get better,’ he writes. Moreover, he highlights the foundation’s ‘size and ability to take a long-term view and take large risks on new approaches’. The risks don’t come much larger than $10 billion …
Guardian, 30 January 2010