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$150M for vaccines – Focus on 13 nations

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Poor youngsters in 13 developing countries will be immunized against hepatitis B, thanks to a $150 million gift from a group initially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg News reported Sept. 20.

The gift from the Global Fund for Children’s Vaccines will support immunization programs in 13 of the world’s poorest nations.

An estimated 30 million children worldwide, most living in developing nations, are not vaccinated for the blood-born disease, which claims about 900,000 lives a year.

As a result of the gift, Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda and 10 other countries will be able to immunize four million children by the end of 2001.

More than 600,000 children who would not have been vaccinated otherwise now will be protected.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 100,000 lives will be saved each year because of these initial grants.

The Gates foundation made its initial gift to the fund in 1999 to distribute money and vaccines for children against hepatitis B, influenza and yellow fever.

The fund was created by the United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization and World Bank.

For full story, go to AOL.

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