Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization A partnership for children?s health
Mother and child at the Boane clinic (Photo: Heidi Larson)

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One Year Later

One year ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a new partnership was formed to protect the world’s most precious resource: our children. Leaders from UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, the pharmaceutical industry, governments from North and South, and Bill Gates Jr., announced they would be joining forces to make sure that every child starts life with the protection of one of medical science’s greatest inventions—immunization.

Today, vaccines prevent millions of deaths a year. And since child survival is a major determinant of a country’s prosperity, immunization is also a key to economic development and poverty reduction. But vaccine-preventable diseases still claim three million lives every year, and cause immeasurable suffering to children, families, and communities—simply because all infants do not receive the vaccines that are available today.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is seeking to correct three wrongs: that every year, 30 million children are still not receiving any vaccinations; that as new life-saving vaccines are developed, only children in the richer countries are receiving them; and that current market forces don’t encourage the development of vaccines against diseases most prevalent in poorer countries—including pneumonia, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Money alone won’t get the job done, but it also can’t be done without money. So the GAVI partners designed the Vaccine Fund, a financial mechanism that swiftly channels resources directly to countries, based on the policies and recommendations developed by the GAVI Board. Approximately 98% of Global Fund resources go directly to countries.

The GAVI partners have initially focused their efforts on three major areas:

1) Moving resources from the Vaccine Fund to make a difference on the ground in countries;

2) augmenting the generous US$750 million five-year commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Vaccine Fund; and

3) working with the vaccine industry to modernize the way vaccines are purchased for children in the world’s poorest countries.

Major Accomplishments

Over the past year, the partners in the Alliance have:

  • Introduced a brand new idea in international development: outcome-based grants. Where governments are given responsibility to decide how money is used, but if they don’t show results, the funding stops.
  • Received and processed proposals from 38 of the 74 countries that have per capita incomes below $1000, making them eligible for Global Fund support. More than half of the proposals were approved.
  • Committed US$300 million to 21 developing country government health programs over five years—to help them pay for new and under-used vaccines and/or to improve their countries’ current immunization services.

If the countries reach the targets they have set, these financial commitments translate into a 30% increase in basic immunization coverage in these countries. Over 90% of the children will receive one or more newer vaccines; and approximately half a million lives will be saved annually.

  • Made the Vaccine Fund truly international: Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and The Netherlands have all come on board to support the Vaccine Fund, pushing its total commitments to above $1 billion. More countries are expected to contribute to the Vaccine Fund in the next few months; contributions from corporations and foundations will also be aggressively pursued.
  • Developed a new vaccine procurement system that gives manufacturers long-term purchasing commitments, allowing them to respond to the needs of the poorest people. In fact, the prices for the most in-demand vaccine formulations have been drastically reduced through this process.
  • Created a viable market in poor countries for sophisticated vaccines that combine new and old antigens, such as hepatitis B combined with DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), a market that vaccine manufacturers are now striving to fulfill.
  • Agreed to increase resources to bring to market three vaccines in late stages of development, so-called ‘orphan’ vaccines, against diseases that together cause approximately two million child deaths each year. Without a concerted effort, the vaccines—against viral diarrhoea, pneumonia, and meningitis—would not be available in developing countries for many years.

This year, the partners of GAVI will build upon the initial accomplishments described above. New, simple ways to measure health gains will be introduced. Vaccines and financial support will be delivered to governments, and partners will provide the technical support necessary to ensure successful implementation of programs. Specific strategies to accelerate the introduction of ‘orphan’ vaccines will be worked out. And, by next year, children and communities will enjoy better health and prosperity.

One Year Later – English Language (216kb approx.)
One Year Later – En Français (63kb approx.)


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