January 29, 2010
The Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts (PACE) applauds the Gates Foundation's renewed commitment to the miracle of vaccines through today's unprecedented commitment of $10 billion over the next 10 years to research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world's poorest countries.
This investment – coupled with additional commitments from governments and the private sector it will spur – will spearhead the 21st Century as the Century of Vaccines, and help ensure that countries meet Millennium Development Goal 4 – a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015.
The Gates Foundation's decision to prioritize an investment in vaccines – including those for pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of pneumonia – aligns with PACE's continuing mission to elevate pneumococcal disease on the global agenda, educate policymakers worldwide about its’ impact, advocate for prevention and vaccination, and secure the type of financial commitments that today's announcement represents.
Pneumococcal disease is a leading killer of the world’s children, yet it is the most solvable problem in global health. The Gates Foundation chose to invest so heavily in vaccines because they have witnessed tremendous strides in the last few years, including considerable breakthroughs in vaccine access and delivery, as well as promising work on new vaccines to be released in the coming months and years.
There is, of course, more to be done – from governments, the scientific community and the vaccine manufacturers – to take advantage of this opportunity to save even more lives in effective, efficient and sustainable ways. PACE is working hard to do our part to act quickly and strategically to build upon the dramatic successes of the past ten years as we move forward into the new decade, and we encourage country governments, industry, and donors to do the same.
Dr. Ciro A. de Quadros