GAVI and The Vaccine Fund Launch New Drive to Save 1 Million Children
Outstanding Results Prompt Global Alliance to Redouble Efforts
London, UK, 27 February 2004 - Building upon the success of the last four years, The Vaccine Fund and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) are launching today a global Campaign for Child Immunization. The goal is to save the lives of at least one million children from 2004 to 2006 by providing vaccines and immunization services to the 30 million children in the world’s poorest countries currently without access to vaccines and immunization.
The London launch of the campaign is the first in a series of advocacy and fundraising efforts by The Vaccine Fund designed to raise an additional $400 million a year to extend GAVI’s support for programs to provide new and underused vaccines to more of the world’s children. The Vaccine Fund and GAVI executives and board members briefed UK government and industry leaders on the opportunity that exists to close the immunization gap between rich and poor. The UK government was among GAVI’s first public donors.
Since its launch in 2000, results have far surpassed expectations. More than 500,000 lives are being saved by vaccines delivered with support from GAVI, The Vaccine Fund and their partners. The alliance has enabled 40 of the world’s poorest countries to immunize for the first time 35.5 million children against hepatitis B, making it the largest cancer1 prevention effort ever undertaken by vaccination.
According to GAVI, many countries have also increased access to all vaccines - more than eight million additional children have received basic vaccination. Furthermore, six million children have been vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and 2.7 million children have been vaccinated against yellow fever. Additionally, 48 countries have received financial support to improve healthcare infrastructure, paving the way for delivery of new vaccines and better healthcare, including HIV AIDS or malaria vaccines when they become available.
"The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization is one of the most successful examples of a public and private partnership working to save lives in developing countries," said United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.
Despite these significant gains millions of children remain without access immunization.
The need is urgent. "It is a tragedy that 30 million children still miss out on immunization and that two to three million will die from killer diseases that are easily preventable," said Queen Rania of Jordan, member of The Vaccine Fund Board.
To address this inequity and close the gap between those children who have access to all available vaccines and those in the poorest countries who do not, The Vaccine Fund, GAVI’s financing resource seeks to replenish its funds.
For these achievements to be taken to their full scale and to prepare for the anticipated arrival of new vaccines against diseases such as rotavirus, whose diarrhoeal disease alone kills more than one million children each year, The Vaccine Fund aims to raise $400 million per year during the next three years.
The goal of immunizing the world's poor is a relatively simple one, but has broad socio-economic implications.
Said Jens Stoltenberg, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party: “Immunization is one of the basic building blocks in establishing viable healthcare systems. Without basic healthcare there is no economic and human development.”
Said Mary Robinson Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization Initiative: “The notion that all children should have such access to basic health care is enshrined in international human rights law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it has achieved near universal approval.”
However, it will take continued concerted focus, partnership and resources to ensure that GAVI’s promise of access to all available vaccines for the poorest of the world’s children can be maintained. It will take a global campaign to achieve such unprecedented access for these children. This global Campaign for Child Immunization seeks to do two things: To increase awareness in industrialized countries of the gross inequity between north and south with regard to access to available vaccines, and to urge donor governments, foundations and private sector leaders to support the GAVI partners and The Vaccine Fund to address this inequity.
Thanks to its rapid start-up and early achievements, and its working private and public partnership model, by the end of 2003 GAVI has committed about 95% of its available resources. Since 2000, GAVI and the Vaccine Fund have disbursed $236 million to 69 countries, with eight million more children reached with basic vaccines2 and 35.5 million more children reached with new vaccines.3
The GAVI alliance was launched in 2000 to fight declining immunization rates and growing disparities in access to vaccines among the world’s poorest countries. It is a unique public-private partnership between developing country health ministries, donor countries, vaccine manufacturers, NGOs, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
The GAVI partners created The Vaccine Fund to provide long-term financing to the world's poorest countries, to strengthen health systems and introduce new and under-used vaccines. The Vaccine Fund’s goal is to raise $400 million annually from government and private sources to fully fund GAVI’s commitments to the poorest countries.
In addition to an initial seed grant from the Gates Foundation, The Vaccine Fund has been further financed by nine governments - Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, The United Kingdom, The United States as well as the EU and additional private contributors.
About GAVI and The Vaccine Fund: The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is a public-private partnership focused on increasing access to vaccines among children in poor countries. Partners include national governments, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine industry, public health institutions and NGOs. The Vaccine Fund is the financing resource created to support the GAVI immunization goals, providing financial support directly to low-income countries to strengthen their health delivery and immunization services and to purchase new and under-used vaccines.
1 After tobacco, hepatitis B is the second greatest preventable cause of cancer.
2 Including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, BCG, measles and polio
3 Including hepatitis B, Hib and yellow fever