India Prime Minister and Gavi CEO discuss historic new partnership

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Narendra Modi and Dr Seth Berkley welcome opportunity to improve coverage and equity, both in India and globally

Gavi India partnership

Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley meets India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to discuss the immunisation partnership. Credit: PMO, Government of India/2016.

New Delhi, India, 6 January 2016 – The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, today thanked Gavi and its partners for their long-standing support. “Gavi has done a lot for India and helped to protect the health of India’s children,” he said.

Speaking at his official residence in Delhi during a private meeting with Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley, Prime Minister Modi went on to talk about the importance of vaccination in India. “One sixth of humanity resides in India, equivalent to 30 or 40 other poor countries. Therefore, preventing disease in India will have a truly global impact,” Modi said.

During the meeting, Dr Berkley commended the Modi Government for taking such a strong position on immunisation and discussed Gavi’s proposed new strategic partnership with India for 2016-2021. This will see Gavi provide additional support of up to US$ 500 million to accelerate the introduction of modern and highly effective childhood vaccines for all children in India – a vital step for improving coverage and equity. The partnership will help fund India’s forthcoming rollout of vaccines that will protect children against causes of the biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrhoea, as well as vaccines against measles-rubella and human papillomavirus.

Positive change

Dr Berkley welcomed this exciting opportunity for positive change for the children of India, but stressed that the support of the Vaccine Alliance can only be scaled up sustainably if future funding from India is made available. “Together we can reach every child and create a healthier future for generations of Indians to come,” he said.

Market shaping was also discussed including India’s commitment to the long-term supply of vaccines for the poorest children, both nationally and globally, and its role in obtaining the lowest possible vaccines’ prices. Dr Berkley talked of the benefits of Gavi and India, two of the largest consumers of vaccines in the world, working closely together in the procurement of vaccines to help drive down prices and create vaccine supply security. They also emphasised the importance of assuring quality.

Modernise vaccine supply chains

Prime Minister Modi and Dr Berkley talked about India’s potential role in helping to modernise vaccine supply chains in Gavi-supported countries. Having returned recently from Paris for the World Climate Change Conference (COP21), Modi referred to a new international initiative, launched by India, France, the United States and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to make innovative and cheap new solar technologies available to poor or remote communities that currently have no access to grid power.

Praising this and two other new innovative Government initiatives, Mission Indradhanush and Make in India, both of which are improving childhood immunisation in India, Dr Berkley explained how such innovation and technology could also help transform the often aging supply chains in Gavi-supported countries. One option they discussed was to explore new ways to finance and incentivise private companies to engage them in this work. Such technological assistance, Dr Berkley said, would not only help position India as a market leader in cold chain equipment, but also massively help to improve coverage and equity in the world’.

 

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