Gates: ‘Today will go down in history’

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates open second day of the Global Vaccine Summit

The second day of the Global Vaccine Summit, a forum highlighting the role that vaccine systems play in achieving global child health and development goals, has opened with remarks made by and on behalf of co-hosts Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates.

Welcoming delegates on behalf of one of the event’s co-hosts, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the UAE, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al Nahyan urged nations, institutions and individuals to embrace immunisation for the sake of the global community.

“We have the vaccines. Let us have the wit and will to administer it everywhere, for everyone,” he said. “No family, no culture, no nation can thrive without good health. The global community will not thrive unless it brings good health to all of its members.

“We cannot have a world divided into the sick and the well because of custom, habits or lack of understanding. Nor can we allow funding to be the cause of such a division.”

Speaking via video link, fellow co-host Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, said that there was no greater gift than to give a child a healthy start in life. “Immunisation is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent diseases and save young lives,” he said. “We have reached four out of five children worldwide. Now it is time to reach that fifth child; we must break down all barriers that stand in our way.

“Because they lack a simple vaccination, millions of children are being denied their right to a healthy life,” he added. “Let us pledge to summon the will and the resources to safeguard their future and the future of their societies, which is our common future as well.”

In his short address, Gates said that there would be a number of announcements made over the course of the summit, adding that he believed the day would “go down in the history of global health”.

“We are closer today to achieving the goal of universal coverage. You’ll see some very exciting new commitments to this fight, and new partnerships coming together to solve the very tough challenges we face in the final stages [of the battle to eradicate polio]. It’s a very important day.”

PhilanthropyAge.com will be reporting from the Global Vaccine Summit throughout the day #philanthropyage .