Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chair of the board of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations), asked Bill to become that foundation’s first envoy/ambassador. Bill helps raise to raise Gavi's profile & awareness about the importance of childhood vaccines in the fight against major killers like pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases.
GAVI – Preventing Childhood DiseaseLaunched in 2000, primarily with $750 million donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates’s Gates Foundation, GAVI focuses on saving the lives of children. Gavi does this by delivering vaccines to fight preventable childhood disease, vaccines include everything from measles to polio. In the decade since its founding, 233 million children in 72 countries have been inoculated. This has saved an estimated 5,000,000 lives.
The two largest childhood disease killers are pneumococcus, which is basically pneumonia, and the rotavirus, which results in a loss of fluids due to diarrhea. Vaccines are now available against both of these killers but there isn’t enough money available to protect every child from these diseases. At this point, only 5 percent of global health funding goes to this effort, and Bill’s job as envoy will be to duplicate some of the strategies we used to bring attention to AIDS, which will raise the profile and the funding. With sufficient funding, it’s estimated Gavi can save the lives of 4 million kids under the age of 5 in the next three years.
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