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Palabras de Su Alteza Real la Infanta Doña Cristina en el "Every Child Council Annual Celebration"

Nueva York, 25.09.2008

I am very happy to join this Council Meeting one more year, and I am delighted to see so many people interested in our Immunize Every Child campaign.

Thanks to the job I hold since 1997, I have had the chance to take part in several projects aimed at eradicating extreme poverty in low-income countries, by promoting actions which may contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the more vulnerable populations.

This contribution runs alongside the Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations and signed in 2000 by 189 Heads of State and Government, including Spain.

These goals represent, without any doubt, the greatest commitment with the fight against poverty in the history of humankind.

And within this fight, healthcare is an essential feature. In the world?s poorest regions, disease and the lack of resources are linked and rooted so deeply together that we are unable to combat them separately.

Infant mortality is closely tied up with poverty. Each year more than 9 million children under five die in the earth?s more disadvantaged countries.

Most of them die as a result of disease or from a combination of several illnesses which could be prevented with inexpensive treatments.

Immunization is, amongst those treatments, the most powerful shield against the majority of diseases.

While in developed countries children are routinely immunized as part of their Government?s healthcare programs, in developing countries the problem of getting vaccines is made worse by other circumstances related to the lack of infrastructures and the weakness of these countries? own health systems.

The GAVI Alliance was founded in 2000 in order to try and remove the obstacles to infant immunization, the first world alliance between the public and private sectors whose aim is to fight infant mortality.

According to estimates from the World Health Organization, from 2000 to the end of 2007 GAVI?s contributions have prevented more than 2,9 million premature deaths.

These figures are encouraging, but we still have a long way to go.

Infant mortality is closely tied up with poverty. Each year more than 9 million children under five die in the earth´s more disadvantaged countries.

GAVI?s efforts, hard work and hopes join up with the public and private sectors in our common aim to fight children?s mortality and thus try to solve this huge world-wide issue: remember, two and a half million children die each year from diseases that could be prevented by immunization.

Countries lead the way. But we can help countries with our ideas and our commitment, as well as our financial contribution, to develop an even more effective model to save tens of millions of lives.

Earlier this year we had the chance to visit a primary care centre in Isla Josina, in beautiful Mozambique. We saw lots of immunized children, protected against deadly diseases, and their mothers? efforts to achieve this. We also saw the challenges of keeping vaccines refrigerated and of not breaking the ?cold chain? when they are taken to remote difficult-to-reach communities.

Countries need help to build and finance this ?cold chain?, and new ideas are required from the business world on how to improve this. GAVI shares in this effort.

In Mozambique we also visited the Manhiça Research Centre where, among many other activities, pioneer research is taking place on a new malaria vaccine.

This is a clear example of the need to speed up the new vaccines against killer diseases, and for that we require scientific innovation as well as financial assistance.

Another sad fact: Each year seven hundred thousand boys and girls die worldwide from pneumonia, blood poisoning and other pneumococcal diseases.

For two years, GAVI, six donors and the World Bank have worked to launch an Advance Market Commitment pilot project, to anticipate a failure in the market for some vaccines, and to be able to bring others to market as soon as possible.

For instance, the present project tries to bring to market, in three years, a vaccine against pneumococcal diseases. Without AMC it would most likely take three times as long, so you can imagine how many people would suffer the consequences of such a delay.

The sooner a vaccine is obtained, the sooner we shall be protecting millions of children who, tragically, would otherwise die.

The Immunize Every Child Campaign wants everybody to have the opportunity of sharing in this great challenge.

?For every child, everywhere?.

Thank you so much for coming today, and I hope that in a year?s time we can celebrate another step ahead in our struggle to help children all over the world.

Good evening.

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