Norway increases and prolongs support for global immunization until 2015

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Norway joins the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm)

7 December 2005 - NEW DELHI -The Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, announced today that starting in 2006 the Government of Norway will boost its annual support to the GAVI Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). Norway's 2006 donation to global immunization will now total 500 million kroner (approximately USD$75 million), up 66% in regard to the 2005 contribution. This contribution should be kept at this level until 2015, bringing Norway's total support for global immunization to 6.5 billion kroner (approximately US$1 billion depending on exchange rates).

Moreover, the Prime Minister of Norway announced that Norway will be joining the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm) to boost efforts to raise additional development funds via new and innovative financing.

"It is unnecessary and unacceptable that a child dies every third second, that more than 26,000 children die every day, that more than 10 million children die every year," said Prime Minister Stoltenberg. "One quarter of these children can be saved by vaccines available today or in the very near future. This is why we invest in children's health through the GAVI Alliance. This is possible. This is affordable. How can we defend not to do it?"

Prime Minister Stoltenberg made his announcement at the opening of the 3rd GAVI Partners' Meeting in New Delhi, 7-9 December, where the world's foremost experts in public health and vaccines are meeting to review progress and confront the challenges in immunizing children in impoverished countries.

"From the beginning Norway has been a leader in its support of the GAVI Alliance and child immunization," said Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the GAVI Alliance. "We are grateful for this increased funding as it will strengthen our efforts to deliver vaccines to the poorest children of the world."

GAVI has been financed by ten governments to date-Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union, private contributors, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GAVI resources help strengthen health and immunization systems, accelerate access to selected vaccines and new vaccine technologies-especially vaccines that are new or underused-and improve injection safety.

Norway joins the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden as a donor to IFFIm. The International Finance Facility for Immunization, or IFFIm, is a new financing mechanism that will use pledges of future aid to leverage money from international capital markets for immediate use. IFFIm financing will accelerate significantly the availability of new development funding.

GAVI's efforts are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on child health, which calls for reducing childhood mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Of the more than 10 million children who die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, 2.5 million die from diseases that could be prevented with currently available or new vaccines. It is projected that more than 1.7 million premature future deaths will have been prevented through GAVI support by the end of 2005.

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The GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) was launched in 2000 to increase immunization rates and reverse widening global disparities in access to vaccines. Governments in industrialized and developing countries, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, non-governmental organizations, foundations, vaccine manufacturers, and public health and research institutions work together as partners in the Alliance, to achieve common immunization goals, in the recognition that only through a strong and united effort can much higher levels of support for global immunization be generated. Funds channeled through GAVI's financing arm, The GAVI Fund, are used to help strengthen health and immunization services, accelerate access to selected vaccines and new vaccine technologies - especially vaccines that are new or under-used, and improve injection safety. In addition to substantial funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The GAVI Fund (formerly The Vaccine Fund) has been financed by 10 governments to date, as well as the European Union and private contributors.

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