DAVOS – New figures released today by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance show that half a billion children have been reached with lifesaving vaccines in the 15 years since the organisation was founded. The figures also reveal that the number of deaths averted through Gavi-supported immunisation programmes now tops seven million.
Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley announced the figures during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos – the place where Gavi was born in 2000 – just days ahead of a major event to be hosted in Berlin which is looking to raise billions of dollars to ensure Gavi Is fully funded between 2016 and 2020.
“Quite simply, no other intervention touches so many lives,” said Dr Berkley. “More and more children are being reached with new and effective vaccines and we are seeing children growing up who simply would not be alive and healthy today if they had not been protected through immunisation. We are proud of this milestone but we want to go further and immunise a further 300 million children against life-threatening diseases between 2016 and 2020. We believe we can defeat vaccine-preventable illness, further preventing child death and helping communities lift themselves out of poverty.”
Dr Berkley was joined at the press conference by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, Canada’s Minister for International Development and Minister for La Francophonie Christian Paradis, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning Ms. Amina Mohammed, speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and German actress, physician and ONE campaign ambassador Dr Maria Furtwängler, all of whom highlighted the importance of working together to reach children with vaccines.
“Despite of the challenges we have faced, Mali has accelerated its introduction of new vaccines to immunise more of our children,” said President Keïta. “We will continue to do so next year when we introduce more vaccines, including the inactivated poliovirus vaccine. Immunisation is one of the smartest investments we can make in the health of our citizens and the future of our nation and through the Gavi partnership we will continue to increase our vaccination coverage and have a positive and lasting impact on our children’s health.”
“Too many women and children still die from causes that a simple immunisation could prevent. I have seen first-hand how preventable diseases take away precious lives far too soon,” said UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. “Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a sound investment with a track record for achieving results. It is also contributing to advancing the Every Woman Every Child movement and will be an important partner towards ending all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths.”
“Immunisation is one of the best investments we can make to save lives and improve the health of children, their families, communities and countries. We need to work together as a global community to ensure that Gavi is fully funded and we must focus on exploring creative ways to engage the private sector to improve global health. It is our collective responsibility to the world’s children,” said Minister Paradis. “I am proud to say that Canada has already stepped up with an early pledge of $500 million as part of our top development priority: improving the health of the world’s mothers, newborns and children. Canada is pleased to see the continued momentum in this important area, building on accomplishments reached at the Toronto Summit. We urge global leaders to come together to mobilise the resources that Gavi needs to keep saving lives – Canada pays what it pledges and we encourage others to do the same.”
“We are privileged to live in an age where we can protect our children through simple but effective interventions like vaccines,” said Maria Furtwängler. “Gavi has achieved tremendous results since 2000 but next week in Berlin we hope that donors will step up to enable Gavi to do even more. As a mother, a physician and a ONE ambassador, I am fully supportive of Gavi’s efforts to reach every child with vaccines.”
Gavi partners and donors will come together in Berlin on the 27th January under the patronage of German Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel to secure the US$ 7.5 billion required to fund vaccine programmes in the world’s poorest countries in the 2016 to 2020 period.
Chancellor Merkel will be joined by world leaders, donors including Bill Gates, developing country representatives, civil society organisations and other experts for the Gavi Replenishment Conference. This is the first official event of Germany’s G7 presidency.
Despite Gavi’s remarkable success in supporting developing countries to immunise half a billion children since 2000 lack of access to vaccines in developing countries sees 1.5 million children die every year from illnesses that could have been prevented through immunisation.
“We are aiming to make history in Berlin,” added Dr Berkley. “As well as helping immunise hundreds of millions more children, a fully funded Gavi would support countries to ensure their vaccine programmes will continue to benefit children for generations to come. The global health community has a unique opportunity to set in motion programmes that will give us the best chance of reaching every child with vaccines.”
About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of 500 million and the prevention of approximately seven million future deaths. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
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).
Clio Van Cauter
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