Washington, DC (Vocus) October 22, 2009
"The roadmap outlined in the new report on the state of the world's vaccines and immunization launched by the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization today is exactly what the United Nations Foundation strives to achieve. As a proud partner of the Measles Initiative and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we are dedicated to working through our public-private partnerships with the UN, governments, our global partners, and individuals to raise awareness and funds, and to ensure lifesaving measles and polio vaccines and other preventive interventions such as anti-malaria bed nets, vitamin A, and de-worming medicine are provided to children around the world.
"History and experience have taught us that if we fail to invest in new vaccines or if we let up in our fight against diseases that no longer threaten children in the developed world, we can expect vaccine-preventable diseases to continue to kill millions of children each year. Without continued funding and commitment to full immunization, diseases that have been controlled will roar back to claim more lives than ever and millions of children who could otherwise lead healthy lives will suffer.
"Immunizations are critical to reaching our global health goals and to significantly reducing child mortality as stated in Millennium Development Goal 4. Though not all diseases are vaccine-preventable, some of the top killers of children under five years old -pneumonia, diarrhea, and measles-can be averted through immunizations. Vaccines have consistently proven to be the most cost-effective method for preventing infectious diseases worldwide, preventing more than 2.5 million child deaths a year. Vaccines have been responsible for eradicating smallpox, have brought us to the brink of eradicating polio, and during the past decade, have reduced global measles deaths by 74 percent.
"Even in the current economic climate, immunizations are the most cost-effective means to preventing infectious diseases in children. Investing in vaccines is investing in the future of children worldwide. I hope that by 2020, we can proudly say that by our commitments today, and through even greater investments in the future, we will have eradicated polio from the world, we will have eliminated measles in all countries, the world's children will have access to safe, effective and affordable new vaccines, and millions of children each year will be given a chance to lead healthy and productive lives. By working together, we can make this aspiration a reality."
About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas, and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. We build partnerships, grow constituencies, mobilize resources and advocate policy changes to support the UN's work for individual and global progress. The UN Foundation's work - focused on select global problems - is decreasing child mortality, improving disaster relief, protecting diverse cultures and environments, creating a clean energy future, empowering women and girls, and improving U.S.-UN relations. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org
Contact: Amy DiElsi 202-419-3230