OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, December 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Tachi Yamada, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program, issued the following statement to mark the launch of MenAfriVac-a new vaccine against Meningitis Group A-in Burkina Faso:

"MenAfriVac is a tremendous success story for the global health community. It is the first vaccine developed specifically for Africa, and it proves that global partnerships can develop and deliver high-quality, low-cost vaccines.

Ten years ago, we invested in the Meningitis Vaccine Project, an innovative model that brought together PATH, the World Health Organization, African health ministers and the Serum Institute of India. Today, we celebrate the result: a modern vaccine selling for less than US 50 cents per dose with the potential to end Africa's deadly meningitis epidemics.

We believe that vaccines are one of the best buys in global health. In January, Bill and Melinda Gates called on the global community to make this the Decade of Vaccines. There is no better way to launch this decade than with a new vaccine that will improve and save lives."

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 at http://www.gatesfoundation.org.

SOURCE: Bill SOURCE: &SOURCE: Melinda Gates Foundation

CONTACT: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, +1-206-709-3400,media@gatesfoundation.org