GAVI welcomes G8 commitment to Muskoka Initiative

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GAVI welcomes G8's US$5 billion pledge aimed at reducing the number of maternal, newborn and under five deaths in developing countries

G8 study notes that 100% of government donations to GAVI will benefit mothers and young children in developing countries

Geneva, 29 June 2010 - The GAVI Alliance welcomes the announcement made by the Group of Eight on Saturday of a new commitment to global health aimed at further reducing the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths in developing countries.

According to a G8 study calculating the portion of donor support directly benefiting maternal and child health, 100 percent of contributions and commitments to GAVI reaches mothers and children in the developing world.

The collective pledge of US$ 5 billion behind the "Muskoka Initiative" represents the G8's renewed promise to address the health inequities that remain for the world's poorest mothers and children. It's a good start and we hope additional resources will be forthcoming.

Predictable finance

Specifically, we call on the G8 members and other supportive governments to increase or bring forward their current and future global health commitments and ensure predictable finance for critical interventions so that we can meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Specific financial commitments to mother and child health must be delivered this year if we are to sustain achievements to date, maintain momentum, and further reduce the tragic and unnecessary deaths among the world's poorest women and children.

100% GAVI contributions benefit MNCH

According to a G8 study calculating the portion of donor support directly benefiting maternal and child health, 100 percent of contributions and commitments to GAVI reaches mothers and children in the developing world.

Considering the global economic challenges, funding for global health initiatives will need to be chosen wisely. Thanks to the G8 study, Governments donating to GAVI are assured that their commitments are guaranteed to help meet the goals set out in the G8 Muskoka Initiative on MNCH.

Cost-effective

It is heartening to see that the Muskoka initiative will focus on "proven, cost-effective, and evidence-based interventions."

Vaccination is just that: proven high impact at low-cost. Over the past decade, developing countries have significantly increased immunisation rates among their populations to an historic high of approximately 80%. Thanks to long-term donor support, these countries -- in partnership with the GAVI Alliance -- have immunised over 257 million children and prevented 5.4 million deaths.

Health systems

It is also heartening to see that the G8 recognises the importance of strengthening health systems in developing countries. Leveraging existing immunisation programmes already helps extend vital services to more women and children wherever they live.

Recent studies have shown that with 80% coverage, immunisation programmes present a unique and equitable "contact opportunity" to reach women and children with interventions to further tackle Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

The GAVI Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank and the World Health Organization recently launched a Health System Funding Platform to strengthen coordination, and reduce transaction costs and the reporting burden for developing countries.

Pneumonia and diarrhoea

This is a critical moment. For the first time in history, G8 countries and partners have the power to tackle the world's two biggest childhood killers: pneumonia and diarrhea. New potent vaccines are available, low-income countries are demanding them and the immunisation platforms are in place to deliver them.

If donors can commit just US$ 1.1 billion now to GAVI, these vaccines can be rolled out quickly. And with another US$ 3.2 billion, full introduction by 2015 has the potential to prevent nearly one million deaths each year, a significant contribution to meeting Millennium Development Goal 4.

But we must get moving. Each child not reached runs the risk of dying from entirely preventable diseases. That's approximately 2.3 million child deaths between now and next year's G8 meeting.

5 -> 13

2001: 5 vaccine suppliers to Gavi (one in a middle-income country) | 2013: 13 vaccine suppliers to Gavi (six based in middle-income countries) 

UNICEF

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