Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles

Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2017

Saudi foundation pledges $50 million to eradicate measles

NEW YORK: A Saudi Arabian charitable foundation said on Monday it will give $50 million to the United Nations children’s agency to help eliminate measles, the largest private donation ever to UNICEF’s efforts.
The donation by Riyadh-based Alwaleed Philanthropies comes amid rising concern about the highly contagious disease, a leading cause of death among children, with recent outbreaks in Italy and Romania.
It will help vaccinate more than 51 million children in 14 countries, UNICEF said.
Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s head, said the show of charity could inspire others to give to the immunization effort.
“Alwaleed Philanthropies’ generosity will ... serve as a catalyst to spur greater investment,” he said in a statement.
The gift is the largest single private donation ever made to UNICEF’s measles and rubella elimination efforts, a UNICEF spokeswoman said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus can lead to deadly complications like diarrhea, dehydration, respiratory infection and encephalitis and kills nearly 400 children every day.
It can be prevented with two doses of a widely available and inexpensive vaccine but continues to infect tens of thousands of people globally.
Reported measles cases increased in Africa, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region in 2014 and 2015, according to WHO.
Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud, secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, said the need to stamp out the disease is particularly pressing amid current humanitarian crises that increase risks of disease.
Citing wars, refugees and asylum seekers, she said: “A lot of factors now are changing.
“You have to do whatever you can,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Alwaleed Philanthropies’ founder, billionaire investor and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, pledged in 2015 to give his entire $32 billion fortune to charity over time.
It has so far spent money on health care and women’s rights in more than 124 countries.
Last year, the Americas became the first region in the world to be declared measles free.

Saudi Arabia welcomes US decision on Iran oil sanction waivers

Updated 55 min 33 sec ago

Saudi Arabia welcomes US decision on Iran oil sanction waivers

  • The Saudi minister said Iran uses state income to finance their dangerous policies
  • Saudi Arabia will work with other oil producing countries to stabilize international market

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has welcomed US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo’s announcement that waivers on the sanctions on Iranian oil exports will be lifted, Saudi state agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia believes the US decision is a necessary step to pressure the Iranian government to stop jeopardizing peace and end their global support for terrorism, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, said.

The Iranian regime uses the country’s income to finance dangerous policies without any consideration for international law, the minster added.

International pressures on Iran must continue until it stops interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, he stressed.

Saudi Arabia will continue their strict adherence to the policies, which aim to stabilize international markets, and will not produce oil beyond the balance, Al-Assaf said.

The Kingdom will cooperate with other oil producing countries to produce enough oil for consumers, he added.