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Contacts: Amy MacIver for PATH in Seattle, 206.979.3102; Paul Quirk for PATH in Washington, DC, 202.572.2879.

Vaccination may be the most effective public health intervention of all time—especially in low-income countries, where many families can’t access or afford health care when they are sick. On Friday, January 29, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill and Melinda Gates announced a new ten-year Gates Foundation commitment to funding vaccine development and delivery.

“The commitment announced by Bill and Melinda Gates today will have a tremendous impact on children and families in the poorest areas of the world,” said Dr. Christopher Elias, president and CEO of PATH. “PATH is committed, as is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to letting no child die from a preventable disease, and we are heartened by their continued efforts to move us one step closer toward a world where health is within reach for everyone.”

As one example of the power and promise of vaccines, this week’s New England Journal of Medicinepublished research results from Mexico that demonstrate a reduction in diarrheal disease deaths following rotavirus vaccine introduction. Worldwide, rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea, which takes the lives of more than 500,000 children every year.

PATH remains committed to our work on vaccine innovation and introduction to save lives and protect children where care is often out of reach. We applaud the leadership of the Gates Foundation and hope their commitment will inspire political will, other donor commitments, and country-specific action plans to get lifesaving vaccines where they are needed most. 

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Posted January 29, 2010.