British PM pledges more support for child vaccines

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British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that Britain would increase its funding to a Bill Gates-backed alliance for child vaccination when it holds a conference in London on Sunday.

Writing in the Observer newspaper on Sunday, Cameron said a greater contribution to the GAVI Alliance was in line with his decision to maintain Britain's international aid budget at a time when it was making cuts in many other areas.

"At a time when we are making spending cuts at home, our decision to protect our aid budget abroad is a controversial one. But I am convinced it is right," Cameron said.

"I don't believe it would be right to ignore the difference we can make, turn inwards solely to our own problems and effectively balance our books while breaking our promises to the world's poorest.

"It is why tomorrow we will increase our support for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation to stop children... dying from totally preventable diseases," he added.

GAVI Alliance donors and potential donors will meet in London on Monday to attempt to make up a funding shortfall in its aim to immunise 243 million more children in 72 countries and avert four million deaths by 2015.

GAVI, funded by the foundation set up by the Gates Foundation and by a number of countries, and has already vaccinated 288 million children.

© 2011 AFP

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