Spain’s leading corporate foundation gives €4 million for child immunisation

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La Caixa's largest donation to one single organisation marks a fundraising boost for GAVI's Immunise Every Child Campaign 

Mozambique, 15 February 2008- La Caixa Foundation (Fundacion Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona), has announced a €4 million donation to the GAVI Fund's Immunise Every Child Campaign. The money will be used to help vaccinate children in the world's poorest countries against life-threatening diseases.

La Caixa Foundation is Spain's largest corporate foundation and ranks second in Europe and fifth worldwide.

The GAVI Alliance is a unique partnership that combines public and private sector leadership and resources to strengthen health systems and bring the benefits of immunisation to those greatest in need, saving millions of lives.

The €4 million gift is the largest grant made by the foundation to a single organisation and the largest received by the Immunise Every Child Campaign, the private philanthropy programme GAVI launched last year. The campaign is building a community of private donors to GAVI who endorse GAVI's high return on investment and are dedicated to making childhood immunisation a top philanthropic priority.

Isidro Fainé, president of the La Caixa Bank and La Caixa Foundation, said: "It is very satisfying for La Caixa to join with the GAVI Alliance and thus contribute to illness prevention and the improvement of countries' health systems."

GAVI Executive Secretary Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt welcomed the gift. "We very much appreciate this new support from La Caixa Foundation, a GAVI partner since March 2005 when the foundation co-hosted a high-level symposium on child mortality in Barcelona. La Caixa's gift provides further evidence of strong private interest in the work of the GAVI Alliance, as well as the significant contribution that the private sector is making to GAVI's work. We look forward to our close collaboration with La Caixa over the years ahead."

The donation will help children in the world's poorest countries receive life-saving vaccinations, including hepatitis B (HepB) and Haemophilus Influenzae, type b (Hib), in combinations with diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, (DTP3); and also yellow fever vaccine. It will also fund auto-disable syringes and injection safety boxes, which reduce the risk of HIV infection as needles can only be used once and are safely disposed of in boxes after use.

The Spanish royal house had a key role in bringing the GAVI Alliance to the attention of La Caixa Foundation. A supporter of GAVI since 2005, HRH Princess Cristina of Spain spoke at the launch of the Immunise Every Child Campaign in New York last year and is an honorary founding member of the Every Child Council, the campaign's recognition and leadership body.

The announcement of the gift comes as the Princess of Spain, Mr Fainé and Jaime Lanaspa, the newly appointed executive director of La Caixa Foundation, travel to Mozambique this week. Graça Machel, chair of the GAVI Fund, invited the group to see for themselves, among other things, GAVI's work in the country. Since 2001, GAVI has provided a total of more than US $17 million for immunisation in Mozambique. One resulting success has been the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine. Coverage has risen to more than 70% in the country.

Ms Machel noted: "I am delighted that La Caixa Foundation, which has been a vital source of financing for development in Mozambique, has announced this new support to the GAVI Alliance. These resources will help GAVI and its partners to deliver life-saving vaccines to children in the poorest countries of the world."

While in Mozambique the La Caixa team will also visit the Centro d'Investigaçao em Saude da Manhiça with which La Caixa Foundation has been collaborating on various projects through the Centre de Recerca en Salut Internacional de Barcelona since 2001. The International Social Works Cooperation Program of La Caixa has been fostering the development of Mozambique since 1997 prioritising the execution of educational and health projects.

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