The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that the U.S. Government will commit $1 billion to The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, in the 2015-2018 fiscal years to help vaccinate 300 million children worldwide.A statement from USAID indicates that the amount announced is subject to congressional approval.It further states that the U.S. contribution will support Gavi’s plan to immunize 300 million additional children and save at least 5 million lives by 2020.If approved by the U.S. Congress, the US$1 billion will benefit Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa where Polio, whopping cough, diphtheria and tetanus have been affecting children with Ebola now taking center stage.“Providing a new and underutilized vaccine to the world’s poorest countries is a key driver in ending preventable child deaths by 2035,” the statement notes.Accordingly, USAID will be working closely with host country governments, Ministries of Health and Finance, and in-country and global Alliance partners, and will bring its financial, technical, and diplomatic efforts together to support country immunization programs to reach all children with critical, safe vaccines.”GAVI represents a groundbreaking effort that has unified a global community of partners — from rural clinics to multinational corporations — in the fight to end the tragedy of preventable child death,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “In doing so, we are strengthening our own national security, economic prosperity, and moral leadership.”For the third year in a row in his State of the Union address, President Obama embraced the vision of eradicating extreme poverty. USAID’s support for vaccines and immunization is foundational to these efforts.In June 2012, the world came together for the Child Survival Call to Action: A Promise Renewed, to craft a global goal to end preventable child deaths by 2035 and pioneer new approaches to accelerate progress towards child and maternal survival. In the last two years alone, 24 priority countries – of which 16 are in Africa – have achieved an eight percent reduction in under-five mortality, saving 500,000 lives. Many of these lives were saved by simple, low-cost, high-impact health interventions like vaccines. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was created in 2000, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.Since then, GAVI has helped immunize nearly 500 million children; saving 7 million lives, driven down the costs of life-saving vaccinations, and has helped the poorest countries expand their vaccination programs, the statement said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Liberal government is expected to present a balanced budget Thursday that many believe will lay the groundwork for an election call that could come as early as this weekend.A government source familiar with the fiscal document said it will contain $2.4 million in annual funding for two existing medical programs, a move that appears aimed at defusing public anger about the provincial government’s inability to keep a promise to provide every family in the province with a doctor.“That will help 50 new family doctors (net) who can practise in the system each year,” the source told The Canadian Press.The funding would create 10 new seats in the family residency program at Dalhousie University and open 10 new spaces in the ready assessment program, which assists international doctors in establishing practices in Nova Scotia.The government has unleashed a flurry of announcements in the last seven weeks, totalling in the tens of millions of dollars, which has led to speculation about a trip to the polls, which Premier Stephen McNeil has done little to squelch.McNeil, who has refused to rule out an election before a legislative vote on the budget, stuck to his script on Wednesday.When asked whether the budget would be a real document without a house vote on the estimates, McNeil was clear.“The day it is introduced it’s considered to be a real budget, even those that have been defeated. This is a real budget. It’s a thoughtful plan and it reflects the hard work of Nova Scotians over the last three-and-a-half years.”Last month, Finance Minister Randy Delorey committed to a balanced budget for 2017-18, on the heels of a forecasted surplus of $12.1 million for 2016-17.But Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie did his best Wednesday to cast doubt on those claims.Baillie said although the document would be presented as balanced, it likely won’t account for certain expenses, such as the coming legal fight over Bill 75, which imposed a contract on the province’s 9,300 unionized teachers.“That exact action in British Columbia cost the taxpayers there hundreds of millions of dollars when the courts finally settled it,” said Baillie. “It would be irresponsible to table a budget that doesn’t account for the significant legal costs the McNeil government has exposed us all to, but I do think that’s what’s going to happen.”The Tory leader said he expects the Liberals to table the budget and then dissolve the house to call Nova Scotians to the polls. He said it would be wrong not to subject the budget to its usual scrutiny.“They don’t want Nova Scotians to see what they’ve done until after an election,” he said.NDP Leader Gary Burrill said such a move would be “undemocratic and sneaky.”Burrill also lamented the government’s expressed intent to table another balanced budget.“That fills me with foreboding that the investments that are needed … are not going to be made,” he said.During a speech last month to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Delorey revealed the budget would see a rise in the threshold for the small business income tax rate to $500,000 from $350,000. The move would shift more than 1,000 companies into a lower income tax bracket, paying rates of three per cent rather than 16 per cent on their income.