GENEVA/DHAKA – Two new life-saving vaccines are being introduced tomorrow into Bangladesh’s national immunisation programme thanks to support from Gavi, UNICEF, WHO and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners.
More than three million children will benefit from pneumococcal vaccine (PCV), which protects against one of the leading causes of pneumonia, and the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) as part of the Polio Eradication & Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018.
“Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Bangladesh, accounting for 22 % of deaths of children under the age of five so the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine will have a major positive impact on child survival,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Globally, pneumococcal disease takes the lives of half a million children under the age of five each year, the vast majority of whom live in developing countries.
“We strongly believe that introduction of PCV and IPV in the national immunisation schedule will have a major impact on the reduction of under-five mortality and morbidities. Given the commitment and determination shown by the Government and partners, UNICEF is confident that this momentous effort will make a significant and sustained contribution to child survival in Bangladesh through ensuring equitable access to all children,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative, Bangladesh.
“With high immunisation coverage in Bangladesh, this introduction of two more vaccines, PCV and IPV, is a step in the right direction. The inclusion of IPV in routine immunisation in Bangladesh would help maintain Bangladesh’s polio-free status and the introduction of cost-effective PCV would bring significant reduction in childhood diseases and deaths. We are confident that the introduction and uptake will continue to remain high. WHO continues to support the Bangladesh’s EPI programme,” said Dr N. Paranietharan, WHO Representative to Bangladesh.
In May 2013, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Polio Eradication & Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018, calling on countries to strengthen routine immunisation programmes and introduce at least one dose of IPV as a lead up to the phased removal of oral polio vaccines.
Oral polio vaccine is widely used in developing countries and while it has successfully reduced polio cases by 99 per cent worldwide, adding IPV to routine immunisation programmes will further improve immunity and help reduce the risks associated with vaccine-derived polioviruses.
“”The introduction of IPV as part of an accelerated roll-out is also critical as it will consolidate global efforts to put an end to this crippling and debilitating disease. Together with GPEI, Gavi is supporting an unprecedented push to introduce IPV into most countries by the end of 2015. Strong routine immunisation is an essential factor to interrupt and maintain zero polio transmission. As long as a child anywhere is infected with polio, children in all countries are at risk,” added Dr Berkley.
Last year more than 350 cases of wild polio virus were recorded, mostly in Pakistan, which along with Afghanistan and Nigeria is one of the three countries where polio is endemic. Since the beginning of 2015, 17 cases have been reported worldwide (16 in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan).
Notes to editors
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 an additional 500 million children and the prevention of approximately 7 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, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, 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, Kuwait Youth Committee, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Clubs International Foundation, UPS and Vodafone.
About the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, and is spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, and supported by key partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since its launch in 1988, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99%, from 350,000 cases per year in more than 125 countries, to 359 cases in 2014. In 2015, only three countries remain endemic: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. www.unicef.org.bd
As the lead health authority within the United Nations system, WHO helps to ensure the safety of the medicines and vaccines that treat and protect us, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Good health lays the foundation for vibrant and productive communities, stronger economies, safer nations and a better world. WHO’s work touches people’s lives around the world every day through over 7000 staff working in the field in 194 countries. WHO aims to provide every child, woman and man with the best chance to lead a long, healthy and fulfilled life. WHO monitors health trends to work out what needs to be done to protect human health. And uses the best scientific evidence available to establish the most effective ways to prevent, treat and cure health problems.
For further information, please contact
- Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Communication Officer, Communication, Advocacy and Partnership Section, Mobile: +880 1711 595045, Tel: +880 2 9336701 ext. 7028, email: [email protected]
- Shima Islam, Chief, Communication, Advocacy & Partnership Section, UNICEF Bangladesh; Tel: +880-2 885 2266 Ext. 7020, email: [email protected]
- Saiful Islam, Communications Officer, WHO Country office for Bangladesh; Tel: +8802 883 1415, email: [email protected]
- Frédérique Tissandier, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, email: [email protected]. Tel: +41 22 909 2968. Mob. +41 79 300 8253