With bold new commitments from major public and private donors during this Decade of Vaccines, the success of today’s pledging conference signals a renewed global effort to dramatically accelerate action to extend the full benefits of immunization to children and women in the world’s poorest countries. Under the leadership of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s G7 presidency, donors have today committed $7.539 billion over the next five years to deliver vaccines and immunization to Gavi-supported countries. With this funding, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will be able to help countries immunize an additional 300 million children with the 11 vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for infants.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is an innovative public-private partnership that has delivered on its promise and continues to demonstrate results, value for money and return on investment. It has done so by building from WHO’s unique role in providing evidence-based guidance including setting immunization policies and international standards to guide vaccine use in countries and supporting health system development to enable the integration of other preventive interventions as part of comprehensive approaches to public health.
Since 2000, Gavi’s work on vaccines and immunizations has helped prevent 6 million future deaths by immunizing 440 million children, thus significantly advancing countries toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 target of reducing by two-thirds the under-5 mortality rate. Gavi has also contributed to women’s health and achieving MDG 5 through the use of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
Immunization programs have acted as a pathfinder for universal health coverage and the development of stronger health systems. The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), has set ambitious targets for achieving universal access of vaccines and immunizations and Gavi is a critical contributor towards ensuring these goals are met by 2020.
“WHO sets technical specifications for vaccines and prequalifies all vaccines employed in Gavi-supported programs,” says Dr. Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, director of the WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. “Gavi benefits from WHO’s input on issues ranging from cold chain and vaccine management, monitoring and evaluation, to training and post-introduction analysis of vaccines. Working together with other Vaccine Alliance partners, WHO is committed to ensure that the present gains and investments are sustained, so that countries can increase their immunization coverage and eventually take over full financing of their immunization programs.”