Speaking at the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) Pledging Conference today, ARK Chairman Ian Wace announced that ARK will double its contribution to the government's GAVI Matching Fund for Immunisation to £2million ($3.2million).
ARK was the first organisation to take the government up on its offer to match private donations through GAVI, earmarking an initial £1million for the roll out of the rotavirus vaccine in Zambia.
Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of under-fives in Africa. ARK's programme in Zambia will roll out this new vaccine and provide a model for prevention and treatment of diarrhoea that can be replicated nationally and potentially across sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at the pledging conference, Ian Wace said:
"ARK has always believed that the private sector can and must do more. Our pledge was intended as a call to action for that sector to rise to the challenge of partnership to save children's lives.
"Today, we want to raise the stakes. ARK is therefore doubling its pledge to £2million, enabling our programme to reach over one million children in Zambia by 2015. We hope this will stimulate others to rise to the challenge and make whatever commitment they can to save the thousands of children whose lives are at risk."