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Lord Boateng reports on the UK supported vaccine rollout in Ghana

7 May 2012

Lord Paul Boateng travelled to Ghana for World Immunization Week (21st – 28th April), to celebrate the country becoming the first African country to introduce pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines at the same time, simultaneously tackling the leading causes of the world’s two biggest childhood killers – pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Globally, pneumonia and severe infant diarrhoea together take the lives of more than 2.7 million children under the age of five each year. In Ghana, these killer diseases together account for approximately 20% of the country’s under-five child mortality.

Lord Boateng visited the country where he grew up and where more than 50 years ago he received an inoculation against Polio, which is now eradicated in Ghana, in this video he highlights what he found in Ghana.

The rollout in Ghana has been made possible through the work of the GAVI Alliance. The GAVI Alliance is a Geneva-based public-private partnership aimed at improving health in the world’s poorest countries. The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

Since 2010, GAVI has already helped introduce pneumococcal vaccines in 16 developing countries and rotavirus vaccines in five countries. By 2015, GAVI plans to fund the introduction of the vaccines in a further 21 and 15 countries respectively reaching more than 50 million additional children.

Lord Boateng was involved in supporting the GAVI Alliance during his time at the Treasury and is pleased that the work under the Labour Government is being carried on by the Coalition.

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