One of the tenants at Pentlands Science Park, The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), a charity committed to advancing innovations in livestock health as a means of reducing poverty, announced today (Wednesday 8 October) that it has received a major cash injection to support its work protecting livestock and saving human lives.
The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are committing a total of $28 million to GALVmed over the next three years for the development and delivery of vaccines for a range of leading diseases plaguing livestock in developing countries.
According to the World Bank, 75 percent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Livestock are a form of savings for many small farmers, and disease can quickly lead to financial distress. But many small farmers lack access to high-quality vaccines to protect their animals against disease. The grant will help GALVmed focus on developing and delivering vaccines to smallholder farmers who need them most.
“This funding is an important step toward closing the substantial gap between the need for livestock health mechanisms in the developing world and the amount of funding available to support those imperatives,” said Steve Sloan, Chief Executive of GALVmed. “Facilitating the development and delivery of vital medicines to populations is key to those whose survival depends on healthy livestock.” It is widely reported that rural farmers lose 25 percent of animal herds and flocks each year to diseases such as East Coast Fever and Rift Valley Fever. Some diseases, such as Newcastle Disease, a virus affecting chickens, have mortality rates as high as 95 percent. The grant is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development Initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields and incomes.
“Livestock are a vital asset for many smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, director of Agricultural Development for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Improved technologies that help prevent disease in these animals can help farmers build assets, protect themselves against risk, and over time, lift their families out of poverty.”