Vaccines group seeks $7.4 billion to save up to 8 million lives

Credit: REUTERS/Jorge Silva

TOKYO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - The GAVI global vaccines alliance on Friday called on donors for $7.4 billion to help immunise 300 million children against life-threatening diseases between 2021 and 2025, and save up to eight million lives.

GAVI, which is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation (WHO), donor governments and others, funds immunisation programmes for poor nations that cannot afford to buy vaccines at rich-world prices.

"Over the past two decades the Vaccine Alliance has helped to protect a generation against some of the world's deadliest diseases," GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said in a statement.

"However, 1.5 million people are still dying every year from vaccine-preventable diseases ... This calls for an urgent response to ensure people continue to be protected against disease, to prevent deadly outbreaks and to help the next generation prosper."

The announcement was made in Yokohama, where Japan is hosting a three-day international conference on African development. Democratic Republic of Congo, a mineral-rich central African country, is being hit by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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