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Hamburg, Germany, 8 July 2013 – The GAVI Alliance and Lions Clubs International today announced a unique partnership designed to protect tens of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries against measles, a highly infectious disease that kills an estimated 430 people every day, mostly in developing countries. Under the partnership, Lions Clubs – the world’s largest service club organisation – will deploy its network of 1.35 million volunteers to raise US$ 30 million and to improve access to vaccines through the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership whose mission is to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries. The funds raised by the Lions will be matched by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total to US$ 60 million. The announcement was made at the Lions Clubs’ 96th annual convention in Hamburg, Germany. “Lions Clubs International and its members are excited to continue our commitment to the fight against measles and rubella,” said Lions Clubs International Foundation Chair Wing-Kun Tam. “Through our joint efforts with GAVI and other partners, we will increase access to quality immunisation services at every level – globally, nationally and locally – to benefit children in developing countries.” Social mobilisation boost Lions Clubs and GAVI will work with ministries of health in developing countries to ensure children are vaccinated against measles and rubella. Lions will also play a key role in social mobilisation efforts by working work with local leaders, coordinating community-level publicity and serving as volunteers at vaccination centres. Measles kills about 160,000 people annually, mostly children under age five. GAVI provides the measles vaccine in a single shot with the vaccine against rubella (German measles). “This new partnership will bring us another step closer to effectively tackling measles and rubella, two serious infectious diseases,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “Teaming up with the vast network of Lions Clubs worldwide will allow GAVI to immunise more children with the measles-rubella vaccine, ultimately reducing the number of measles deaths and cases of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.” Through our joint efforts with GAVI and other partners, we will increase access to quality immunisation services at every level – globally, nationally and locally – to benefit children in developing countries Wing-Kun Tam, Lions Clubs International Foundation Chair Lions Clubs has committed to raise US $30 million for GAVI immunisation programmes by 2017, when Lions Clubs celebrates its 100th anniversary. Under the GAVI Matching Fund, the UK and Gates Foundation match contributions to GAVI from corporations, foundations, their members, customers, employees and business partners with a goal of raising US$ 260 million for immunisation through 2015. “We are grateful for the continued and generous commitment of Lions Clubs International and its members to improving the health of the world’s poorest children,” said Bill Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “This partnership will help us urgently reach all children, no matter where they live, with the vaccines they need.” The partnership makes Lions Clubs the largest member of the GAVI Matching Fund, which now has secured more than US$ 145 million in private sector gifts and donor matches. Lions Clubs is the Matching Fund’s 10th member.+ More details
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