The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the government of Germany have announced a commitment of €28 million (nearly US$40 million) for child immunization efforts in the developing world, the Associated Press reports.
The funding will be used to support global vaccination projects overseen by the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI) and will help close a $3.7 billion funding shortfall at the organization for scaling-up immunization programs between 2011 and 2015. The €18 million pledged by the German government brings its total contribution to GAVI in 2011 to €20 million and is in addition to its regular giving to the organization, which currently totals more than $8.6 million annually.
The pledges were announced as part of a new agreement between Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Gates Foundation that includes close cooperation in the areas of global health policy, agriculture and rural development, water and sanitation, urban development, and microfinance. As part of the agreement, the Gates Foundation has committed to match any further pledges announced by Germany ahead of the June GAVI Pledging Conference.
"We are very happy to sign this agreement that will make it easier to cooperate on our common priorities of investing in smart aid, which can save lives, improve living conditions, and build a prosperous and stable society," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "I was in Berlin this week to talk about the impressive achievements of the German development cooperation, which were in large parts driven by smart investments in organizations like GAVI and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria."