31 May 2002
GAVI and the Vaccine Fund provide a major boost to child vaccination in China
To Vaccinate All Its Children Against Hepatitis B
31 May 2002 As part of its commitment to protect
the lives of millions of children around the world, the Global Alliance for Vaccines
and Immunization (GAVI) and The Vaccine Fund will sign an agreement on 1 June
with the Chinese Government to vaccinate children in China against hepatitis B,
with a special focus on the 12 poorest provinces.
agreement involves funding of US $75 million, of which the Government of China
provides 50 per cent and GAVI and the Vaccine Fund provide the other 50 per cent.
Over the next five years, the Vaccine Fund resources will be used to assure that
infants born in China are immunized against hepatitis B.
official signing ceremony, to be held in The Great Hall of the People on Children's
Day, illustrates the Chinese Government's commitment to promoting the health and
development of its children. The Chinese Minister of Health, Dr. Zhang Wenkang,
will sign for China while Ms Carol Bellamy, GAVI Chair and UNICEF Executive Director,
will sign for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
Jim Jones, Executive Vice President of The Vaccine Fund, will sign on behalf of
The Vaccine Fund.
Childhood is a critical
time in life. It is a time when we have an opportunity to protect a childs
future. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools to guarantee
a childs future health, said Ms. Bellamy. I applaud the Chinese
Government in this effort.
has a very good immunization programme, many poor children living in remote areas
do not have access to hepatitis B vaccination. Through this partnership the Chinese
Government will integrate hepatitis B vaccination into its routine childhood immunization
programmes throughout the country. The hepatitis B vaccine is highly effective.
anticipate a dramatic decrease in liver cancer over the next two decades,
said Dr. Mark Kane, GAVI Board member and Director of the Childrens Vaccine
Program at PATH. Dr. Kane worked closely with the Government of China and GAVI
partners on the new agreement and noted that this was a culmination of a
deliberate and thoughtful process. Now, for the first time, all children are going
to receive this lifesaving vaccine.
B is a global health problem causing the deaths of nearly one million people every
year. Nearly one-third of these deaths occur in China. Children are at high risk
of being infected, and many of those who are infected develop liver cancer in
adulthood. Hepatitis B-related liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer
deaths in Chinese men.
The resources provided
under the agreement will be used to train health workers, provide logistics and
support quality communication, supervision and monitoring activities. The funds
will also be used to provide the vaccine and over 500 million auto-disable (AD)
syringes and safety boxes to ensure safe injection practices and foster the development
of a local AD syringe industry in China.
syringe includes a safety device that prevents its reuse. WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and
the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have adopted a global policy
on injection safety, urging the use of auto-disable syringes for all immunization
by the end of 2003.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines
and Immunization (GAVI) is a coalition of organizations launched 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).