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Wanted: Innovative Ways to Reach All Children with Vaccines

$250,000 award recognizes creative ideas for improving immunization in developing countries

SEATTLE, April 17 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now accepting nominations for the third annual Gates Vaccine Innovation Award. The award aims to recognize, celebrate, and spur transformative ideas for improving health through the delivery of vaccines. Nominations will be accepted through July 31, 2013.  

“Vaccines save lives and protect children for a lifetime, but only when they receive them in a safe, timely manner,” said Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery at the Gates Foundation. “The Gates Award rewards innovations that improve and assure delivery of life-saving vaccines to every child that needs them, no matter where they live.”

The winner of the 2013 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award was announced in Bill Gates’ 2013 annual letter. The Award recognized the work of Ms. Margarida Matsinhe, a field officer for VillageReach in Mozambique, for her key role in developing new approaches to improve vaccine delivery logistics and collaborating with key partners to implement the new system in four districts. Thanks to this work, the percentage of children receiving basic vaccines in those districts increased from 69 percent to 95 percent.

The 2012 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award recognized the work of Dr. Asm Amjad Hossain, for his work as a district immunization and surveillance medical officer in Bangladesh. Dr. Hossain instituted an improved process to help register, track, and locate pregnant mothers. He also incorporated other simple steps, such as adding the phone numbers of vaccinators to children’s immunization cards. The implementation of these of innovative approaches to routine immunization provided thousands of additional children with access to life-saving vaccines.

Both Vaccine Innovation Award winners, along with 300 global health and development experts, vaccinators, celebrities, and political and business leaders will be in Abu Dhabi to show their support for vaccines at the first Global Vaccine Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi, April 24-25, 2013.

Vaccines are cost-effective, safe, and proven to protect children from life-threatening and crippling diseases. Thanks to the tireless efforts of health care workers, national governments, development partners, and civil society, great progress is being made toward achieving equal access to vaccines.

By focusing on the delivery of vaccines, the Gates Vaccine Innovation Award aims to complement other awards focused on scientific research and development. The foundation will recognize the winning innovation with a USD $250,000 prize, which is allocated between the Award winner and an organization that can further improve vaccine delivery.

Vaccines prevent an estimated 23 million deaths each year, every 20 seconds a child dies from preventable diseases like pneumonia, rotavirus, measles, and meningitis. Strong immunization systems ensure that life-saving vaccines reach those children who need them the most and   provide a platform for new vaccines and primary health care, and help in the global effort to eradicate polio. The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award seeks to recognize unsung heroes who have used innovative approaches to vaccine delivery and as a result improved vaccine coverage among those who need them most.

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About the Gates Vaccine Innovation Award

In May 2011, during his keynote address to the World Health Assembly, Bill Gates announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would bestow an annual award on an individual or organization nominated by the public that has made a uniquely innovative contribution to the Decade of Vaccines. The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award celebrates revolutionary ways in which life-saving vaccines are delivered to children in the poorest part of the world. Even simple ideas, when applied in creative ways, can be innovative and lead to significant change. For this award, we are looking for ideas big and small that result in tangible improvements in vaccine coverage in developing countries.

The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award nomination process is open to any individual or team from any sector, including academic institutions, governments, health care facilities, research institutions, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. Nominees are assessed on the tangible health impact, creativity, and scale of their innovation in the science, delivery, or funding of vaccines.

Nominations are being accepted online now at: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/gates-vaccine-innovation-award. Nominations will be accepted through 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time on July 31, 2013. The winner will be announced in early 2014. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more: www.gatesfoundation.org

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