Final session of Child Survival Call to Action meeting sees commitment to end preventable deaths by 2035
GAVI CEO Dr.Seth Berkley addresses the Child Survival Call to Action meeting. Copyright: GAVI/2012/John Donnelly
Washington, D.C., 15 June 2012 - Governments and Civil Society Organisation both signed pledges to work towards ending preventable child deaths by 2035 on Friday, bringing the Child Survival Call to Action meeting to a successful conclusion.
U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah described the support of over 50 Governments for the pledge as a “stunning achievement”, adding that he would ask every Government to sign-up. More than 100 CSO's also signed their own pledge.
Opportunity to make history
“We do have an opportunity to make history here,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “This goal ... is attainable if we believe it is attainable.”
“We do have an opportunity to make history here. This goal ... is attainable if we believe it is attainable.
Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director
How to eliminate preventable deaths
In the past last 40 years, thanks to new vaccines and improved health care practices, child deaths have been reduced by more than 50 per cent. Yet millions of children still die every year from preventable causes, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Over the past two days, at a meeting convened by the Governments of the United States, Ethiopia and India, together with UNICEF, some 750 global health experts from 80 countries have discussed how to eliminate these deaths.
The event featured presentations by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia's Health Minister; Anuradha Gupta, Permanent Secretary of India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare; Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator; and actor Ben Affleck, who is founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative.
In her closing speech, Geeta Rao Gupta urged attendees to start working on the overall initiative "even in the coming days or weeks".
One panel at the meeting quickly responded to Ms Gupta's call for action, exploring innovative ways to accelerate progress to save children’s lives.
Presenting to the panel, GAVI CEO Seth Berkley explained that one of his organisation’s best ideas had resulted in wider distribution of vaccines -- but it had nothing to do with the science of developing a vaccine.
Innovative finance mechanism
“We established an innovative financing mechanism by creating an international financing facility. It allowed us to use capital markets to raise money,” Berkley said.
“It also allowed us to be much more responsive to the needs that we had.”
Dr.Berkley pointed to other life-saving GAVI innovations such as advanced market commitments for manufacturers to give them confidence to produce new vaccines for developing country markets, as well as new ways for countries to collect data in order to measure whether they were making enough progress in delivering vaccines.