Spain to give millions to save Third World children

9th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 September 2005, LONDON — Spain was among five leading European countries to promise millions of euros to save the lives of 10 million children in developing countries.

9 September 2005

LONDON — Spain was among five leading European countries  to promise millions of euros to save the lives of 10 million children in developing countries.

By raising EUR 3.25 billion over 10 years they hope to cut the number of deaths from diseases like measles, polio, hepatitis B, tetanus, and diphtheria.

Illnesses from such immunisable diseases kill millions every year.

But critics fear the scheme is a "buy now, pay later" project.

Spain has promised EUR 9.6m each year.

The UK will give EUR 103m, France EUR 79m, Italy EUR 23m a year; and Sweden EUR 22m.

Meanwhile, Microsoft boss Bill Gates has promised EUR 604m over 10 years through his Gates foundation.
The scheme, dubbed Iffim, uses long-term financial commitments to provide "frontloaded" resources for the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi).

The extra resources are predicted to save the lives of five million children by 2015 and a further five million after that.

Donors will make payments to Gavi over 20 years from 2006, allowing it raise funds from investing now with the back-up of guaranteed future funding.

At the launch in London, British Chancellor Gordon Brown said: "By the power of medical advance with a wholly new innovative mechanism to frontload long-term finance, Iffim ... will enable 10 million lives to be saved and spare millions of families the agony of a loved one needlessly dying."

Peter Hardstaff, from the World Development Movement, said he wanted to increase funds for immunisation but did not approve of the details of the scheme.

"Our concern is that because the IFF is a way of borrowing money from international financial markets, in years to come we're going to end up using aid money to pay off the interest to financiers rather than helping the poor," he said.

Nearly 30 million children go without immunisation each year.

Illnesses from immunisable diseases make up more than half of all illnesses in the poor world - nine times the level in the richest countries.

At the launch, Graca Machel, chairwoman of Vaccine Fund Board, said she hoped nations such as the US would become donors to the IFF.

President George Bush has previously said the IFF plans do not fit with US "budgetary process".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news



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