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Thu 27 Jan 2011 10:27 AM

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Sheikh Al Nahyan, Gates donate $100m for child vaccines

The money will be used to fund vaccines for Afghan, Pakistan children

Sheikh Al Nahyan, Gates donate $100m for child vaccines
VACCINATION FUND: Bill Gates and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan have pledged to donate $100m for child vaccines (Nemanja Seslija/ITP Images)
Sheikh Al Nahyan, Gates donate $100m for child vaccines
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told conference participants that the UAE leads a number of business areas partly because it has embraced IT. (Nemanja Seslija/ITP Images)

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Bill Gates on Wednesday pledged $100m to fund vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation each pledged $50m to deliver vaccines for five deadly childhood diseases, such as diphtheria and pneumonia, to five million Afghan children.

The remaining $34m will be used to deliver oral polio vaccines to as many as 35 million children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The children of Afghanistan and Pakistan deserve the quality of health and opportunities that immunization can bring,” said Sheikh Al Nahyan in a statement. “[The benefits] have the potential to resonate for generations to come.”

Gates's $34bn foundation focuses on health in developing countries, usually targeting common diseases with high mortality rates, such as malaria, as well as agriculture.

One in four Afghan children die before their fifth birthday, placing the country’s infant and under-five mortality rates among the world's highest.

"Vaccines protect children from many life-threatening childhood diseases, providing the best way to give a child a healthy start to life," said Gates in a statement.

"[This partnership] can help build a healthier, more stable future for Afghan and Pakistani children, their families and communities."

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