UNICEF receives $10 mn grant from Gates Foundation

Press Trust of India
New York, November 19

The United Nations Children's Fund has received a 10 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight maternal and neonatal tetanus, which kills an estimated 230,000 mothers and babies annually in the poorest and most remote areas of the world.

Noting that at a cost of just 1.20 dollars per woman, UNICEF can eliminate these needless deaths with a safe and effective vaccine that has been available in the developed world for more than 70 years, the agency called the gift, an extension of $26 million dollars given in 1999, a challenge grant to encourage other donors and foundations to contribute.

In order to achieve elimination of MNT worldwide by 2005, UNICEF needs to raise an additional 147 million dollars. An estimated 207 million women still need to be immunised.

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's financial commitment to the elimination of MNT will help save the lives of millions of newborns and their mothers," Charles J Lyons, president of the US Fund for UNICEF, said.

"Because of the campaign to eliminate MNT and the support of the Gates Foundation, as many as 15,000 lives are saved annually," he added.