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Bill Gates gives £6.2bn for vaccines for children
01-29-2010, 09:13 PM,
Bill Gates gives £6.2bn for vaccines for children
Quote:Bill Gates has pledged £6.2billion to fund research into new vaccines for the world's poorest countries.

The sum will be spent over 10 years and will aim to help more than eight million children.

It is thought the cash - from Gates and his wife's charity The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – is the largest donation ever made by a charity.

It will aim to make sure that 90 per cent of youths are immunised against dangerous diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia in poorer nations.

Calling upon governments and business to also contribute, billionaire Mr Gates said in a statement today: ‘We must make this the decade of vaccines.

‘Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.’

Gates said the commitment more than doubles the £2.8billion the foundation has given to vaccine research over the years.

The foundation said up to 7.6 million children under five could be saved through 2019 as a result of the donation.

It also estimates that an additional 1.1 million kids would be saved if a malaria vaccine can be introduced by 2014. A tuberculosis vaccine would prevent even more deaths.

‘Vaccines are a miracle,’ said Melinda Gates.‘With just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime.’

The pledge is the biggest single donation to be made for one cause in one go.

Ten years ago the couple also pledged £6billion, to be split between health and education causes, with £3billion going on vaccines.

The world’s biggest philanthropist is financier Warren Buffett.

He has donated £18billion of his £30billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but that is to be paid in instalments and used for a variety of charity work.

Mr Buffett has given away 80 per cent of his net worth.

Mr Gates’ total donations now add up to £24billion, some 66 per cent of his £36billion fortune.

It comes as Mr Gates launched a scathing attack on Silvio Berlusconi, accusing the Italian Prime Minister of spending more on his thinning hair than he does on foreign aid.

Mr Gates hit out at Mr Berlusconi's 'stinginess' and said the controversial politician was the main figure on his 'list of shame'.

And, in a clear reference to Mr Berlusconi's hair transplant, he told German daily Sueddeutche Zeitung that 'rich people spend a lot more on personal problems like baldness than they do to combat malaria'.

Mr Gates' attack came as Italians were scratching their heads over the mystery of Mr Berlusconi's moving hairline.

Photographs taken recently of the 73-year-old prime minister seem to show him with a good head of hair one day but then visibly thinner a couple of days later.

A further two days on and his thatch has mysteriously reappeared.

The media tycoon had a hair transplant in 2004 - days before he was pictured with Tony and Cherie Blair when they holidayed at his Sardinian villa.

Much to the embarrassment of the Blairs, Mr Berlusconi appeared with them wearing a black and white bandanna to protect his scalp from the sun.

Yesterday Italian newspapers printed a series of photos showing Mr Berlusconi's changing hairline. La Repubblica said his hair had 'undergone an amazing mutation'.

It added that after appearing at a wedding 'with his traditional head of hair', two days later his hairline 'appeared inexplicably higher and thinner. But have no fear: At a ceremony on Wednesday it was back to its luxuriant thick foliage.'

Last night Dr Piero Rosati, who performed Mr Berlusconi's eight-hour hair transplant, said: 'It's possible that hair can fall out due to stress but more hair or less hair what is important is what he is doing politically.’

However Professor Franco Buttafaro, a specialist in plastic surgery, said the problem was down to a far simpler set of circumstances - Mr Berlusconi had forgotten to put his make up on.

Professor Buttafaro told Italian glossy magazine Novella 2000: 'In two days he would not have lost his hair to stress - looking at the photos, what has happened is that one day he applied the make up correctly the next day he didn't.’

Last night his spokesman refused to comment on the stories about his hair.
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