Monday, 20 November 2000
Lisa Jacobs, Communication
Tel: +41 22 909 5042
Cell: +41 79 447 1935
Tel: +32 478 217 149
Executive Vice President
Global Fund for Childrens Vaccines
Cell: +31 6 222 59 188
GLOBAL FUND FOR CHILDRENS VACCINES APPROVES
SUPPORT TO EIGHT MORE COUNTRIES; FIVE YEAR COMMITMENT NOW EXCEEDS
The Netherlands announces US$100
million contribution towards childrens vaccine effort
[NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands]
20 November 2000The Vaccine Fund today announced grants of more than US$100 million
over five years to improve immunization programs in Africa, Asia,
Europe, and Latin America. Countries approved in this round include
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Côte dIvoire, Haiti, Liberia,
Pakistan Rwanda, Sao Tome, and Uganda. Coupled with a disbursement
in September of $150 million over five years, these funds will enable
countries to immunize millions of children against hepatitis B and
other deadly diseases.
The announcement was made as
more than 300 vaccine advocates from industrialized and developing
countries gathered in the Netherlands on 20-21 November for the
first biannual meeting of the partners of the Global Alliance for
Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a coalition of public and private
The Netherlands Minister
of Health, Welfare, and Sport, Dr. Els Borst-Eilers, opened the
meeting with the announcement that the Dutch government would contribute
250 million guilders (approximately US$100 million) over five years
to support GAVI and the Vaccine Fund in their mission to strengthen
immunization services in low-income countries.
"The Vaccine Fund specifically
targets the 74 poorest countries of the worldwith the help
of GAVI, we can also provide training, infrastructure, and skills
to help them make their programs sustainable over the long term,"
said Jacques-François Martin, President of the Vaccine Fund.
"We are proud to count the Netherlands as one of our most active
partners. The announcement today of their generous commitment is
great news for the worlds children. It is a very wise investment
in the future."
At present, vaccines save about
three million lives per year. However, GAVI estimates that another
three million die because they lack access to immunization. Measlesa
disease virtually unseen in rich countries todaykills nearly
one million children every year. Liver disease caused by hepatitis
B claims another 900,000 lives annually.
The Vaccine Fund was launched
in November 1999. To date it has secured over $1 billion, with commitments
from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments
of Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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.
More countries are expected
to submit proposals to the Vaccine Fund for the next review in January
2001. 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 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 of GAVI.
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).