Friday, 17 November 2000
CHILDRENS VACCINE ADVOCATES TO MEET IN THE
NETHERLANDS TO SHARE FIRST-YEAR SUCCESSES
Recent U.S. contribution of $50
million supports ongoing efforts to immunize children
NOORDWIJK, the NetherlandsOne year after
the creation of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
(GAVI) and the Vaccine Fund, more than 300 individuals from public
and private institutions and 40 developing country government health
programs will gather next week in the Netherlands to take stock
of their progress and plan expanded efforts in the coming years.
Board meetings of both GAVI and the Vaccine Fund will also decide
a second round of awards to developing countries for improved immunization
services and/or the introduction of new vaccines.
The existence of the Vaccine Fund has served
to fill the gap in immunization funding for the 74 poorest countries
of the world (those who have a GNP per capita of less than U.S.$1,000).
The Vaccine Fund has raised nearly $1 billion toward its goal of
$1.8 billion over the next five years to ensure that children in
the worlds poorest countries are immunized. Earlier this month,
the United States approved a $50 million contribution to the Vaccine
Fund for its work. This follows earlier commitments from several
"With this contribution, the U.S. Congress
and President Clinton have acknowledged the importance of this new
initiative and the tremendous need to do more to immunize the worlds
children," said Jacques-François Martin, president of
the Vaccine Fund for Childrens Vaccines. "We are gratified
by the U.S. support and the momentum it provides to our efforts."
In September, the Vaccine Fund awarded more
that $150 million over five years to 13 countries in Africa, Asia
and Latin America. Countries received support to strengthen basic
immunization systems and to introduce newer, under-used vaccines
such as hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
A second round of awards will be announced in the Netherlands.
Launched in November 1999, GAVI and the Vaccine
Fund have accomplished much in their first year. Working together
and with unprecedented commitment, the organizations involved in
GAVIthe World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank,
national governments, private foundations, pharmaceutical companies
and research institutionsare working together to immunize
the worlds children. They claim that the collaboration has
helped to streamline strategies, enabling stronger, smarter, and
more efficient support to immunization programs in developing countries.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
(GAVI) is a coalition of organizations formed in 1999 in response
to stagnating global immunization rates and widening disparities
in vaccine access among industrialized and developing countries.
The GAVI partners include: national governments, the Gates Childrens
Vaccine Program at PATH, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical
Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA), research and public health institutions,
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation,
the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank
Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Vaccine Fund, a new financing resource that
was created in 1999, provides financial support directly to low-income
countries to strengthen their immunization services and to purchase
new and under-used vaccines. The Vaccine Fund received an initial
$750 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
and has since received support from governments and other donors.
In the future, Vaccine Fund resources may also be used to accelerate
the development of vaccines for diseases responsible for significant
mortality in developing countries, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis,
malaria, and acute respiratory diseases. While the Vaccine Fund
has its own Board and management for fiduciary and fundraising responsibilities,
decisions about programs to receive support will be made on the
recommendation of GAVI.