In a move to continue supporting vaccination efforts abroad, Bill Gates donated $50 million to fund a myriad of vaccinations in the Middle East. And this time, he had matched support from Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. According to Gates, preventing disease through vaccinations is one of the most important actions a country can take towards ensuring stability.
"If governments look at the numbers--the impact of this--it compares favorably to almost anything else you can do to help a country," Gates said in an interview in Abu Dhabi, according to the Wall Street Journal. "If you don't, if you let the population growth stay high--like it is in countries with very poor health--whether it's stability or education, all of it is kind of out of reach."
Of the total funds, two-thirds will be given to the GAVI Alliance for the purchase and delivery of the pentavalent vaccine and the introduction of the new pneumococcal vaccine in Afghanistan. These vaccines help protect the biggest killers of children younger than 5, including pneumonia, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B, which causes meningitis.
The remaining $34 million will be directed to the World Health Organization and UNICEF to deliver polio vaccines in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Polio is still in issue in the Middle East, as well as India and Nigeria. But thanks to the WHO, Unicef and other beneficiaries, polio cases have diminished by 99 percent in the past 20 years. Gates hopes that the efforts will push polio to join smallpox as the only diseases vanquished by vaccines.
- check out the Gates Foundation release
- read the WSJ article