FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Canada pledges $20 million to increase accessibility to measles vaccines

Canada pledged $20 million to increase access to measles vaccines for children in developing countries during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

The funding, which will be administered through GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership that works to increase access to immunizations in developing counties, will support measles vaccines in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

The viral disease causes approximately 430 child deaths each day, mainly in developing countries, according to GAVI Alliance.

"Canada is proud to partner with GAVI to accelerate the introduction of life-saving vaccines for the world's poorest countries," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. "Canada has been a GAVI donor since 2002."

The $20 million contribution is a portion of Canada's commitment to the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health that was signed by G8 members in 2010. The goal of the Muskoka Initiative is to raise $7.3 billion before 2015.

"We are very grateful to Canada for its commitment," Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI Alliance, said. "As a leader of the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Canada's support paves the way for the introduction of the combined measles-rubella vaccine that will significantly improve the health of mothers and children."