Wednesday, 20 September 2000
Lisa Jacobs, Communication
Tel: +41 22 909 5042
Global Fund for Childrens Vaccines
Tel: +33 4 78 42 63 89
Bill and Melinda Gates Childrens Vaccine Program
Tel: +1 206 285 3500
VACCINE FUND COMMITS $150 MILLION IN VACCINES AND FUNDING OVER FIVE
YEARS TO 13 DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Initial effort will reach four
million children, save more than 100,000 lives per year;
next disbursements in November
GENEVA, 20 September The Vaccine Fund
for Childrens Vaccines will give more than US$150 million
worth of vaccines and funding over five years to improve immunization
programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Thirteen countries will receive the first awards
Cambodia, Côte dIvoire, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya,
the Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique,
Rwanda, and Tanzania. As a result, these countries will be able
to immunize four million children against hepatitis B by the end
of 2001, and more than 600,000 children who would not otherwise
have received any immunizations will now be protected. This represents
a 10% increase in basic immunization coverage. According to estimates,
more than 100,000 lives will be saved every year due to these initial
"Never before have we been able to provide
this level of assistance directly to countries in such a short time.
That is important because immunization is one of our most cost-effective
public health interventions. Vaccines clearly save lives and it
is unacceptable that 30 million children today are not fully vaccinated",
said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem
Brundtland, chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines
and Immunization (GAVI), a coalition of public and private institutions.
"The Vaccine Fund is one of a handful of financial tools being
used to help reverse declining immunization rates and to speed introduction
of new and under-used vaccines in the worlds poorest countries."
"GAVI is the kind of innovative partnership
we need to bring vaccines to the children who need them most
and to demonstrate to industry that if they develop vaccines for
the poorest countries, we will help pay for them. That is why I
have asked the Congress to invest $50 million this year in the Vaccine
Fund for Children's Vaccines to support GAVIs work",
said U.S. President Bill Clinton.
The Vaccine Fund award process is designed to
efficiently channel resources to developing country health systems.
Approximately 98% of current Global Fund resources will go directly
to national immunization programs. Thirty more countries are expected
to submit proposals to the Vaccine Fund for the next review in October;
subsequent reviews have been scheduled throughout 2001 and early
2002. The intention is to provide some form of support to all 74
eligible countries those with income of less than $1,000
GNP per capita over the next two years.
"This new approach issuing an open
call to eligible countries and asking them to design improved immunization
programs based on local needs and conditions is clearly resonating
among donors and developing country officials", said Carol
Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, and a member of the GAVI
Countries will receive financial and technical
assistance either to strengthen basic immunization systems or to
introduce newer, under-used vaccines such as hepatitis B and Haemophilus
influenzae type b (Hib). Some countries will receive support
in both areas. Initial grants of vaccines and funding are made based
on a careful review of the country applications, which require comprehensive
five-year plans demonstrating increased government investment (and
decreased external aid) over time. Subsequent grants will be made
depending on the countrys ability to implement the plan and
meet its goals.
"The availability of resources from the
Vaccine Fund is giving health officials the opportunity to critically
assess their current programs and identify more collaborative, sustainable
approaches to integrating immunization activities in their health
services", said Jacques-François Martin, President of
the Vaccine Fund. "This is exactly what we were striving for
to see that more children are fully immunized and health
systems improve in the process."
At present, vaccines save about three million
children per year. However, GAVI estimates that another three million
die for lack of immunization. For example, measles, virtually unseen
in rich countries today, kills nearly one million children every
year and pneumonia and meningitis caused by Hib take another 400,000
young lives annually.
The Vaccine Fund was launched earlier this year
with an initial contribution of $750 million from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. To date it has secured nearly $200 million
in additional commitments from Norway, the United States, and the
United Kingdom. Other governments, including the Netherlands and
Canada, have also expressed interest in contributing to the Vaccine
The Vaccine Fund for Children's Vaccines provides
financial support directly to low-income countries to strengthen their
immunization services and to purchase new and under-used vaccines.
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,
recommendations about programs to receive support will be made by
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 Bill and Melinda
Gates Children's Vaccine Program, the International Federation of
Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA), research and
public health institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank Group and the World
Health Organization (WHO).
October 2000: Detail
of first disbursements from The Vaccine Fund (see Table)