The GAVI Alliance, a Geneva-based public-private partnership that works to increase access to life-saving vaccines in developing countries, and Lions Clubs International, the world's largest service club organization, have announced a new partnership to protect tens of millions of children in the world's poorest countries against measles.
To that end, Lions Clubs International has committed to raising $30 million for GAVI by 2017 — funds that will be matched by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and will work with the aalliance and ministries of health in developing countries to ensure that children are vaccinated against measles and rubella. The partnership makes Lions Clubs the largest member of the GAVI Matching Fund, which has secured more than $145 million in private-sector gifts and hopes to raise $260 million for immunization initiatives by the end of 2015.
According to the World Health Organization, measles deaths have been reduced by 71 percent since 2001.
"This new partnership will bring us another step closer to effectively tackling measles and rubella, two serious infectious diseases," said GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Berkley. "Teaming up with the vast network of Lions Clubs worldwide will allow GAVI to immunize more children with the measles-rubella vaccine, ultimately reducing the number of measles deaths and cases of congenital rubella syndrome."