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GAVI and The Vaccine Fund: Two Years of Progress

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The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was formed in 1999 as a public-private partnership focused on increasing children's access to vaccines. Partners in the Alliance include national governments from developing and industrialized countries, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank Group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other foundations, the vaccine industry, research and public health institutions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

GAVI was formed at a time when immunization levels were dropping in many countries and some preventable diseases were making a comeback. By joining together in this Alliance, the partners are striving to use their collective strength to reverse the decline, and to make life-saving immunization available to every child.

To help meet the GAVI immunization goals, The Vaccine Fund was created as a financing mechanism designed to raise new resources and swiftly channel them to developing countries' health systems. The Vaccine Fund makes available financial support to strengthen infrastructure; introduce new and under-used vaccines and associated safe injection equipment; and provide safe injection equipment for all vaccines given according to the standard EPI schedule.

At the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2000, the world's 74 poorest countries were invited to submit proposals to The Vaccine Fund. Since that time, 68 of the eligible countries have submitted proposals, and 61 countries have been awarded support.

Over the past two years, the partners in the Alliance have:

  • Committed more than USD 900 million from The Vaccine Fund to 61 developing country government health programs over five years ...

    ... If the countries reach the targets they have set, basic immunization rates in these countries will rise by 17 percentage points and coverage of hepatitis B vaccine will increase from 18 to 65 percent by 2007, ultimately saving more than two million lives.

  • Delivered new and under-used vaccines to 27 countries and transferred funds to support national immunization programs in 24 countries.

  • Created a viable market in poor countries for simple-to-use vaccines that combine new and old antigens, such as hepatitis B combined with DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), a demand that vaccine manufacturers are now striving to satisfy.

  • Made The Vaccine Fund truly international: Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Canada have all joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support The Vaccine Fund, pushing its total commitments to above $1 billion.

  • Developed a new protocol to assess the quality of immunization coverage data, the immunization Data Quality Audit, or DQA.

  • Agreed to prioritize three new vaccines in late stages of development, against viral diarrhoea, pneumonia, and meningitis diseases that together cause approximately two million child deaths each year.
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