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.
About the GAVI Alliance
The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership of major stakeholders in immunisation. It includes developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. WHO estimates that GAVI support will have prevented more than 2.9 million deaths by the end of 2007.
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 9.7 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.
The GAVI Alliance has received a total of more than $3 billion in funding from private sources such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission and the World Bank, and governments including Australia, Canada, Italy, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The GAVI Alliance was formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
About the GAVI Fund's Immunise Every Child Campaign
The GAVI Fund's Immunise Every Child Campaign was established in January 2007 to engage visionary private philanthropists in the rapidly expanding work of the GAVI Alliance. It is building a community of donors and cause advocates to make childhood immunisation a top philanthropic priority.
About La Caixa Foundation (Fundacion Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona)
La Caixa is the biggest savings bank in Spain, while La Caixa Foundation, a €500 million-a-year foundation, is the number one corporate foundation in Spain, and ranks as the second biggest European foundation and fifth at a global level. Since 1997, the International Social Works Cooperation Program of La Caixa has collaborated on 345 projects in 56 countries, with a contribution of more than €31.5 million. The principal axes of action are: socio-economic development, the formation of social capital in Africa and humanitarian action.
About the diseases targeted by GAVI-funded immunisation
People with HepB have a 15-20% risk of dying prematurely from liver cirrhosis or cancer. An estimated 360 million people are chronically affected with the hepatitis B virus. Hib is estimated to be responsible for some three million serious illnesses and 386,000 deaths annually, chiefly through meningitis and pneumonia. DTP3 is a basic life-saving vaccine but each year 28 million children do not receive it. Finally, there are 200,000 estimated cases of Yellow Fever annually, more than 30,000 of these resulting in death.
For more information, please contact:
Jeffrey Rowland, GAVI Alliance
+41 22 909 7165 office
+ 41 79 240 45 59 mobile
Jesus N Arroyo, La Caixa Foundation
+ 34 629 79 12 96
Julius Salsas, La Caixa Foundation
+34 93 404 60 56
+41 22 909 6521 office
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