Africa Receives First Delivery of GAVI/Global
Bill Gates Senior Helps Deliver
Life-saving Vaccines to Mozambique
Maputo, Mozambique 6 April
In a major step towards saving the lives of millions of children
around the world, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
and the Vaccine Fund began the first round of a global schedule
of vaccine delivery to Mozambique, the first to reach the African
Bill Gates Sr., Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, joined Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and President Joaquim
Chissano of Mozambique at Boane District Health Clinic, 45 kms from
the capital city Maputo, to see infants being immunized with DTP-hepB
vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and hepatitis
Following the official presentation of the new
vaccines by Gates Sr. and Bellamy, President Chissano announced
that Boane District would pilot immunization with the combination
DTP-hepB vaccines until a nation-wide campaign begins in July. The
pilot will set in motion a host of activities to revitalize the
countrys immunization programme including: training healthworkers
about the new combination vaccine and correct use of safety devices,
and how to communicate to a variety of audiences the importance
of all infants receiving a full schedule of vaccinations.
The Mozambican Government received the first
half of 1.3 million doses of DTP-hepB vaccines worth an estimated
$1.5 million. An additional contribution of $462,000 to strengthen
immunization services was also awarded.
After a year of hard work, it is gratifying
to see our actions begin to bear fruit as vaccines are delivered
to countries and most importantly to children, said Gates,
Sr. Now we have to quickly expand to all areas of the world,
so we can help save the lives of two million children every year
with vaccines against preventable diseases.
Since its launch at Davos in January 2000, one of
the major achievements of GAVI and the Vaccine Fund is a new vaccine
procurement system. By guaranteeing long-term purchasing commitments,
it enables manufacturers to produce vaccines at affordable prices.
These vaccines were previously only available for children in industrialized
countries. In this way, a viable market has been created combining
new and old antigens,such as hepatitis B combined with DTP. Plans
are currently underway to ship vaccines to 15 more countries such
as Kyrgyzstan and Laos including eight other countries within Africa
throughout 2001. A total of 74 of the worlds poorest countries
are expected to receive support from GAVI and The Vaccine Fund.
Two million children die globally every year because
they lack access to immunization. Measles virtually unseen
in rich countries today kills nearly one million children
annually. Complications caused by hepatitis B infection claim another
million adult lives per year due to lack of childhood immunization
against the disease. Studies in Mozambique show that approximately
20 per cent of the adult population are chronically infected with
hepatitis. The newly awarded contribution will help the country
increase its effort to fight the disease.
Mozambique is one of 25 countries to secure support
from GAVI and the Vaccine Fund after a first review of country proposals.
Government and health officials are committed to using the contribution
to increase access to immunization countrywide. The arrival of the
new vaccines together with financial support for immunization services
is key to creating a sustainable service throughout the country.
"The Vaccine Fund is delighted to be able
to fund these life-saving vaccines for the children of Mozambique,
and is happy to become a partner with this country in our shared
effort to reduce vaccine preventable deaths." said
Jacques-François Martin, President of The Vaccine Fund.
In addition to the vaccines themselves, auto-disable
syringes and safety boxes are also being provided. The auto-disable
syringe includes a safety device that prevents its reuse. WHO, UNICEF,
UNFPA and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Assocations
have adopted a global policy on injection safety calling for the
use of auto-disable syringes for all immunization by the end of
2003. In 2000, a significant number of the 10 to 15,000 new cases
of hepatitis B in Mozambique resulted from unsafe injections
world-wide there are between eight to 16 million new cases each
year. From July 2001 onwards, Mozambique plans to fully integrate
auto-disable syringes for all immunizations.
Vaccine safety is just as important as the
vaccines themselves, said UNICEF Executive Director Carol
Bellamy. Poor vaccination practices can lead to the spread
of disease, rather than its prevention. Supporting countries to
improve injection practices is part and parcel of GAVIs mission.
Mozambique has one of the highest rates of child mortality
in the world with 146 out of 1000 children dying before their first
birthday. Some 12.5 percent of Mozambican babies are born with low
birth weight due to maternal malnutrition and 36 percent of all
children under three years of age are stunted because of chronic
malnutrition. Immunization rates are improving but still low with
only 73 per cent of children completing their vaccination schedule.
The state of emergency caused by the floods in 2000 and 2001 has
worsened the situation in the central and southern provinces, and
increased the vulnerability of women and children to malnutrition
The Vaccine Fund for Childrens Vaccines, 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,
Global 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
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,
UNICEF, the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).
6 April: Statement
from Mr James Wolfensohn, President, The World Bank
6 April: Statement
from Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General, World Health Organization
For more information, please contact:
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