Item 1042 - Address at [Vaccine] Conference, April 2002

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ZA COM MR-S-1042

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Address at [Vaccine] Conference, April 2002

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  • April 2002 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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TRANSCRIPT

As many of you know, I have a longstanding interest in the welfare of the world’s children and it is for this reason that I am so pleased to be here tonight.

Giving children a healthy start in life, no matter where they are born or the circumstances of their birth, is the moral obligation of every one of us. It is heartbreaking to think that three million children die each year from diseases that we can prevent.

These are three million needless deaths every year. These are children that would have grown up to support their families, their communities and their nations.

They would have been productive members of societies that are still developing and need their children to be healthy and strong. By preventing these deaths, we would not only save the lives of children but we would also help strengthen communities and contribute to the development of strong and prosperous nations.

In that context, I would like to mention one particular initiative with which I am very proud to be involved.

Two years ago, the leading institutions of the world involved in vaccination decided to form an alliance to combat declining immunization rates in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The partners of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization - which include UN agencies such as the WHO and UNICEF, as well as the World Bank, Foundations and the vaccine industry - have made enormous progress in focusing the world’s attention on the importance of making sure that all children receive the basic vaccines.

I am particularly proud to serve as Chairman of the Board of The Vaccine Fund, the financial arm of the Global Alliance, which helps finance immunization in the world’s poorest countries.

In less than two years, the Global Alliance and the Fund have committed more than 800 million dollars to 53 countries to pay for newer vaccines or to help improve immunization infrastructure.

During the course of this conference, you will hear from some of the representatives of Global Alliance and the Fund and I urge you to listen to what they have to say and support their work.

There are many important initiatives under way to better children’s lives but I believe that few can make a difference as quickly as the Global Alliance and the Fund have done. For 30 US dollars, we can fully immunize a child. For 300 US dollars, we save a life.

With 800 US million already committed to the Global Alliance and the Fund, one can only imagine how many children’s lives have already been potentially saved.

I would particularly urge those African ministers who are here to take the message of the Global Alliance and the Fund back to your countries. It represents a true partnership between international organizations and our countries and we need to be active partners in this exchange. If we do not make saving children’s lives a priority in our own countries, it will be even more difficult to ask the industrial world to take on that responsibility for us.

In our modern globalised world partnerships are imperative for us to successfully tackle the problems we face.

Within single countries we need strong and integrated partnerships amongst the various agencies involved in the vaccination programme. This applies particularly to the different ministries of government. An integrated approach internally will also facilitate a co-ordinated approach to international agencies. Ministers of Health and Ministers of Finance are key partners in such an integrated national approach.

The global health community has an equally important obligation to maximise co-ordination and to aim at sustainability. Policy-making agencies and funding institutions should locate their efforts within the larger developmental context of a country or region.

One aspect in the arena of policy and financing is that we should not be giving the impression through our funding regimes that certain diseases are less urgent than others and can wait before receiving vaccination attention.

If we tackle these life-threatening and life-shortening issues holistically and in broad partnerships, we shall attend to such matters as building infrastructure and nurturing and maintaining human resource capacity in this field. Too often we find that skilled staff are drawn into the private sector or even lured from developing countries to countries of the North.

In few other areas of our globalised world can the injunction that we are the keepers of our brother and sister be more valid than in the arena of the health of children.

We have a global responsibility to give of the utmost of ourselves, materially and morally, in this partnership.

I am confident that your deliberations here will give further impetus to this key effort to better the lives of the children of the world, and so build stronger communities and nations.

I salute you for your efforts, and I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 23/02/09 by Razia Saleh

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