Brown hopes to save 10 million lives with new $4bn vaccination fund

The money will finance immunisation schemes in 72 countries in an attempt to eradicate lethal diseases including polio, hepatitis B, measles, diphtheria, yellow fever and tetanus.

Ten million children die every year from preventable diseases and 30 million go without immunisation. Illnesses from such diseases make up more than half of all those in the poorest countries - nine times the level in the richest nations. The fund should save five million children's lives by 2015.

Britain will contribute $130m a year to the fund for 20 years, about a third of the total. France, which will pay $100m a year, Italy, Spain and Sweden have made firm commitments to the British-led initiative. Their long-term pledges will allow the aid to be "front-loaded" through the purchase of bonds, speeding up the programme by years.

The "spend now, pay later" scheme, or International Finance Facility (IFF), is Mr Brown's flagship to help the developing world. He hopes it will eventually be followed by a wider aid programme but the US has opposed this funding mechanism, saying a US administration cannot commit a future one to spending.

Although the US declined to back the immunisation fund, Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, is to plough $750m into it over 10 years. The money will go through Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi), which five years ago brought together Unicef, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, aid agencies and vaccine manufacturers. More than 78 million children have been immunised and more than a million deaths averted.

Hailing the breakthrough in his long battle to set up an IFF despite US hostility, Mr Brown will say: "What medical advance has made possible, financial stringency and the absence of creative thinking of long-term finance has frustrated.

"Now, by matching the power of medical advance with a wholly new innovative mechanism to front-load long-term finance, the IFF for immunisation which we are launching here today will enable 10 million lives to be saved and spare millions of families the agony of a loved one needlessly dying."

Graça Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, who chairs the fund, said: "Gavi and the Vaccine Fund have shown that immunisation saves children's lives. This will provide long-term predictable funding that is urgently needed to save the lives of millions more. This turns promises into action."

Mr Gates said: "The commitments provide a major boost to Gavi's work to ensure that all children have access to life-saving vaccines. I commend... Gordon Brown for his tireless work to make this possible."

The programme is being launched ahead of next week's UN summit in New York. A survey by the charity ActionAid International of 340,000 poor people in 18 countries found that in 64 per cent of the villages visited people regularly went hungry; in 83 per cent, work was not available for part of the year and nearly half had no access to any social services. Women often subsisted on less than half the wages paid to men; children as young as five worked for money in 71 per cent of the villages and four out of five school-age girls have never been inside a classroom.

A family devastated by tetanus and polio

Nurmala Sarkiyah lives with her husband and six children in Sungai Asam, Indonesia. Two of her children have been left disabled by diseases that have been almost totally eradicated in developed countries, thanks to vaccination. Ms Sarkiyah said: "My daughter is disabled after she got tetanus. She went to hospital for three months. She had white spots in her eye when she returned. They got bigger and her eye watered, then it went black. Now she's blind in that eye and also mute."

Thenher two-year-son was struck down by polio. "He had a fever and his arm went stiff," she said. "Then the right side of his body degenerated."

The only aid organisation in the area is Save the Children. Anne Taylor, of the charity, said: "About 30,000 children under the age of five die every day and two-thirds of these deaths could be prevented by having free health services."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin