01 April 2010
A UK drive to rid developing countries of the scourge of child deaths by providing £10 million for new and more effective diarrhoea vaccines and treatment was announced today by International Development Minister, Mike Foster.
Diarrhoea is the second biggest child killer in the world, claiming the lives of 4,000 children every day. The world’s poorest countries are hit the hardest because of a lack of clean water, basic sanitation and effective treatment.
Five million pounds UKaid will go to PATH to support the discovery of a vaccine that, for the first time, will protect against the two leading bacterial causes of diarrhoea – Shigella and Escherichia coli.
The UK funding to PATH will also help create additional vaccines for Rotavirus, the most common cause of extreme child diarrhoea, which will help make treatment more affordable.
In addition, £5 million will be given to the Institute for OneWorld Health to support the development of an innovative new drug that aims to shorten the duration of episodes of diarrhoea.
Oral re-hydration drugs are available in developing countries but don’t treat the physical symptoms of diarrhoea and can be expensive which means people living in poverty resort to drinking more contaminated water.
The drug being developed by OneWorld Health is intended to speed up the recovery time by reducing the amount of fluid loss, thereby reducing the likelihood of death as a result of diarrhoea.
International Development Minister, Mike Foster, said:
"It is shocking that more children in developing countries die from diarrhoea than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
"Many of these deaths could easily be prevented by a simple vaccination and access to clean water, safer sanitation and more effective treatment.
"The UK is putting child and maternal deaths at the very heart of our efforts to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track.
"That is why we are investing UKaid to increase access to vaccines that tackle the biggest child killers as well as scaling up efforts to improve water and sanitation in the world’s poorest countries.”
In March (11th), DFID announced £150 million UKaid to support GAVI immunisation programmes that will save 11 million lives by 2030 by rolling out two new vaccines that tackle the two biggest child killers - diarrhoea and pneumonia.
On World Water Day (22nd March) DFID announced £25 million UKaid to give two million of the poorest people in Nigeria access to clean water, and safe and hygienic sanitation.
Earlier this year Canada signalled that progress on global health targets to reduce child and maternal deaths would be on the agenda at this years G8 summit.
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