Bill Gates, international donors to give $4.3 billion to purchase vaccines

Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates and several international donors recently pledged $4.3 billion dollars towards the purchase of vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

Gates made an announcement about the donations at a meeting of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations in London, according to the L.A. Times.

“This is absolutely human generosity at its finest,” Gates said, the L.A. Times reports. "For the first time in history, children in developing countries will receive the same vaccines against diarrhea and pneumonia as children in rich countries.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged $1.3 billion despite deep budget cuts in his country. He said that, despite the cuts, donating to the cause makes sense.

"Frankly, the idea of children dying from pneumonia and diarrhea should be absolutely unthinkable in 2011," Cameron said, according to the L.A. Times. "But for many parents in the developing world it is a devastating reality."

GAVI has vaccinated approximately 288 million children in 19 countries. It hopes to immunize 243 million more children in an additional 26 countries by 2015.

“Today is an important moment in our collective commitment to protecting children in developing countries from disease," Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said, the L.A. Times reports. "But every 20 seconds, a child still dies of a vaccine-preventable disease. There's more work to be done."