Geneva – More children than ever before are being protected against the leading causes of pneumonia as countries strengthen their immunisation programmes with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
In 2013 alone, almost 40 million children in developing countries received the pentavalent vaccine, which includes protection against Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) pneumonia, while 15 million children were immunised with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
These latest figures, released by Gavi on the 6th World Pneumonia Day, bring the total number of children protected against Hib through Gavi-supported pentavalent vaccines since 2000 to almost 200 million. A total of more than 25 million children have received PCV since the first Gavi-supported introduction in 2010.
“Prevention is almost always better than treatment and vaccines are at the forefront of the fight to protect children against pneumonia,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “Although record numbers of children are receiving vaccines that protect them from the leading causes of pneumonia there is still more to be done. We are committed to further expanding access to vaccines as part of an integrated approach to pneumonia prevention and control.”
Pneumonia claims the lives of more than a million children under the age of five every year, mostly in developing countries, making it the leading killer of children. Gavi has already supported the world’s 73 poorest countries to introduce the pentavalent vaccine as well as funding almost 45 countries to begin using PCV.
“la Caixa” renews commitment to Gavi
To support Gavi’s work on increasing access to pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which protects against pneumococcal pneumonia, the “la Caixa” Foundation today announced that it will contribute €1 million towards purchasing the vaccine for children in Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania. This commitment will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the GAVI Matching Fund.
“We are grateful to “la Caixa” Foundation for its strong, long-standing commitment to children’s health,” said Dr Berkley. ““la Caixa” Foundation is one of Gavi’s significant private sector partners and this donation brings the total amount given by the Spanish bank, its employees and business partners to over US$ 24 million.”
Integrated approach to pneumonia control
World Pneumonia Day is an opportunity for a coalition of partners committed to reducing the number lives lost to pneumonia to raise awareness of the key interventions and the barriers that prevent people from accessing them.
Evidence shows that children die from pneumonia because of a lack of access to existing effective interventions. Vaccination, proper nutrition, hand-washing with soap, low-emission cookstoves and exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, can help protect children and prevent pneumonia. Recognising that an integrated approach is key to reducing deaths from pneumonia, Gavi is working with partners to implement the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD).
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is funded by governments (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States), the European Commission, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as private and corporate partners (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., the A&A Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Club International Foundation, and Vodafone).
Click to view the full donor list.
About “la Caixa” Foundation
One of the largest foundations in Europe, the “la Caixa” Foundation is a founding partner of the GAVI Matching Fund and a significant private donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance having contributed more than US$ 24 million. In 2008 “la Caixa” launched a unique and innovative private-sector programme called the Business Alliance for Child Vaccination through which almost 400 Spanish companies have contributed more than US$ 2.2 million to Gavi’s fight against child mortality as well as encouraging contributions from their employees and other private individuals. The “la Caixa” Foundation also advocates for Gavi and immunisation throughout Spain.