The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Fund Disease Surveillance Network in Africa and Asia to Prevent Childhood Mortality and Help Prepare for the Next Epidemic

May 06, 2015, 19:01 ET from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

SEATTLE, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At its Global Partners Forum, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will announce the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network (CHAMPS), a network of disease surveillance sites in developing countries. These sites will help gather better data, faster, about how, where and why children are getting sick and dying. This data will help the global health community get the right interventions to the right children in the right place to save lives. The network will also be invaluable in providing capacity and training in the event of an epidemic, such as Ebola or SARS. The Gates Foundation plans an initial commitment of up to $75 million on the effort.

"The world needs better, more timely public health data not only to prepare for the next epidemic, but to save children's lives now," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Over the past 15 years, deaths of children in developing countries have been dramatically reduced, but to continue that trend for the next 15 years, we need more definitive data about where and why children are dying. This will also better position us to respond to other diseases that may turn into an epidemic."

This network of disease surveillance sites in areas with high childhood mortality rates in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia will offer a long-term approach to information management, laboratory infrastructure and workforce capacity – vital resources in geographies lacking sufficient public health infrastructure. This network could be repurposed quickly in the event of an epidemic, as in Nigeria where the national polio program's Emergency Operations Center was mobilized to fight Ebola.

A lead partner in the effort will be the Emory Global Health Institute, which houses the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide technical assistance with laboratory infrastructure. Each site will have trained staff and technology capabilities. 

"We are excited by and committed to this extraordinary opportunity to make a major contribution to children's health," said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for Global Health at Emory University.

"A disease threat anywhere is a threat everywhere," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  "Strong networks such as CHAMPS will help us find, stop, and prevent outbreaks and will not only save children in Africa and Asia, but will help to make the world a safer, healthier place for everyone."

CHAMPS is a minimum twenty-year project to gather more accurate data about how, where and why children are dying in developing countries. It will help ensure that the right vaccines and treatments are delivered to the people who need them most and that the global health community invests in crucial new drugs and health tools.

The announcement will be made at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Partners Forum held in Seattle. The forum is a one-time event taking place in a milestone year for global health and development. Research and development, delivery, and advocacy partners are meeting to exchange perspectives on major global health challenges facing the world over the next 15 years. The event is expected to draw more than 1000 attendees including partners, high-level representatives from governments and organizations across the globe.

About the 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 Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

 

SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



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