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Tetanus, Hepatitis Vaccination Campaign Launched In Chile Amid Fears Of Disease Outbreaks

“Chile launched a hepatitis and tetanus vaccination campaign Friday and doctors warned of outbreaks of diarrhea and infection among thousands of people displaced by the earthquake and the tsunami that heavily damaged or destroyed 36 hospitals and made garbage dumps of coastal towns and cities,” the Associated Press reports. So far, no dysentery outbreaks or other communicable diseases had been reported, Chile’s health ministry said, adding that it believed it had adequate amounts of tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations.

GAVI Calls Meeting With Existing, Potential Donors

The GAVI Alliance has “asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to ‘make a strong impact’ on childhood death rates,” Reuters reports. “GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help” immunize of millions of children in developing countries by 2015, according to the news service.

With full funding GAVI “will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine” – which protects against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib – “and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea in over 40 countries,’ [GAVI] said in a statement. ‘These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015,'” reports Reuters.

“Britain last week pledged 150 million pounds over the next 10 years for GAVI’s core funding, a move the group’s deputy chief executive Helen Evans said she hoped others would follow,” Reuters writes. “This is the first sovereign donor to have made a 10-year commitment to GAVI, and that really helps because it builds predictability into funding … and actually helps to shape the market for vaccines,” Evans said (Kelland, 3/15).

Lancet World Report Examines GAVI’s Funding Gap

Lancet World Report examines the challenges ahead for the GAVI Alliance, which after a decade of “steadily increasing financing” is now “facing a funding shortfall for the next decade that could hamper the roll-out of new vaccines.” GAVI leaders attribute the funding challenges to the global economic crisis, which has kept government aid budgets from increasing, according to the Lancet.

Polio Vaccination Campaign To Target 85M Children In 19 West, Central African Countries

Global health organizations will launch a $30 million polio vaccination campaign on Saturday in West and Central Africa aimed at immunizing 85 million children under age 5, the Joint Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the International Federation of the Red Cross said on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (3/4).

WHO Advises Continued Use Of GSK’s Rotavirus Vaccine In Developing Countries

The WHO on Monday advised developing countries to continue administering GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix vaccine – which offers protection to children against the diarrhea-causing rotavirus – after the FDA advised doctors in the U.S. to temporarily stop using the vaccine following the discovery it was “contaminated with an apparently harmless pig virus,” Reuters reports. “Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe childhood diarrhea and causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children worldwide, mostly in countries where vaccination isn’t common,” the Wall Street Journal writes (Corbett Dooren/Favole, 3/23).

Wall Street Journal Examines Fundraising Efforts By GAVI, Global Fund

The GAVI Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “on Friday began an effort to raise as much as $24 billion from members of the Group of 20 nations that will test whether a major push begun a decade ago against infectious diseases can survive the global recession,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The two groups held meetings last week in The Hague with government representatives from existing and potential donor nations, according to the newspaper.

Former President Clinton, Bill Gates Encourage U.S. Global Health Investment At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “that U.S. investments in fighting [HIV/]AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations save lives and play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad,” the Associated Press reports.

CDC, Surgeon General Report On Increased Number Of H1N1 Cases In Southeast U.S.

Although H1N1 (swine flu) “has waned across much of the United States, the southeast is reporting an increase in cases of the H1N1 virus, U.S. health officials said on Monday,” Reuters reports. During a conference call with reporters, Anne Schuchat of the CDC reported an uptick in the number of H1N1 cases reported in Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia (Allen, 3/29).