»la Caixa» leads a business alliance to collaborate with the GAVI Alliance in child vaccination



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Today ''la Caixa'' has presented a collaboration agreement with the GAVI Global Alliance to lead a business alliance in Spain for child vaccination. The entity chaired by Isidro Fainé will support the first world coalition between the public and private sectors to fight against infant mortality in developing countries, extending access to and the quality of the vaccines in these countries.

This collaboration has been presented today before 200 businesspersons in the CosmoCaixa in Barcelona and has been attended by representatives of the trade unions and main Catalan business organisations, among whom feature Alfons Vila, Vice-Chairman of the Employers Association; Miquel Valls, Chairman of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce; Josep Lluís Francesc, Chairman of Pimec Foundation; the General Secretaries of the Workers Commissions (CCOO) of Catalonia, Joan Coscubiela, and of the General Workers Union (UGT) of Catalonia, Josep Maria Álvarez.

This innovative project will enable all the companies who wish to extend their social commitment to become involved in international cooperation through a prestigious international alliance such as the GAVI and with the monitoring of ''la Caixa'' Social and Cultural Outreach Projects. Reduction of infant mortality

The companies will have a logo that will accredit their commitment to GAVI, an alliance that has achieved a reduction of 2.9 million in the number of child deaths since its creation in 2000 until the end of 2007, according to calculations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This alliance includes the main players in the immunisation field, among which are governments of both developed and developing countries, the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine manufacturing industry of both developed and developing countries, technical and research agencies, NGOs and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is calculated that of the 9.7 million children aged under 5 that die each year, 2.5 million die from illnesses that could have been avoided with new vaccines or which are currently available.

More than 4 millions

In 2008, ''la Caixa'', through its Social and Cultural Outreach Projects, will provide a total of 4 million euros to facilitate access to the vaccination of children aged under five in low-income countries. The International Programme of ''la Caixa'' Social and Cultural Outreach Projects is thus joining the GAVI Alliance and becomes a strategic collaborator and the first private partner in Europe of this international institution.

Fighting poverty

The Chairman of ''la Caixa'' and ''la Caixa'' Foundation, Isidro Fainé, emphasises, "the historic commitment of the entity in attending to the needs of society, through the strengthening of social actions and the commitment towards sustainability, understood as responsibility and ethics in all the actions undertaken and which is expressed not only in its Social and Cultural Outreach Projects, but also through the financial institution itself".

Isidro Fainé affirms that for ''la Caixa'' it is greatly satisfying to join with the GAVI Alliance and to be able to contribute to the prevention of illnesses and to the improvement of the health system, thus also strengthening the financial entity's commitment to collaboration in the fight against extreme poverty in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The International Cooperation Programme of ''la Caixa'' Social and Cultural Outreach Projects has collaborated in a total of 350 projects in 56 countries with a contribution of more than 36 million euros.

The Chairman of the Board of the Gavi Alliance Fund, Graça Machel, has stated his satisfaction for collaborating with ''la Caixa'', a prestigious and socially committed entity, which has been contributing actively since 1997 for development in Mozambique.

''la Caixa'' and the GAVI Alliance

The GAVI Alliance is an institution created in 2000 to facilitate access to new vaccines and improve the health system and longterm sustainability in low-income countries with the aim of fighting infant mortality in developing countries.

''la Caixa'' is the largest savings bank in Europe, with close-on 5,500 offices, the most extensive network of the Spanish financial system, and since its early days has developed programmes focused on social actions in a coordinated way between the financial sphere and the Social and Cultural Outreach Projects.