We need to make rotavirus vaccines available to all children

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Statement by the GAVI Alliance interim CEO, Helen Evans

Geneva, 28 April 2011 - Rotavirus disease continues to be a significant global health problem. As illustrated in newly released surveillance data by WHO and CDC, globally, 36% of children's hopitalisation for diarrhoea are due to rotavirus infection.

GAVI is committed to working with its partners to accelerate the introduction of rotavirus vaccines in poor countries.

Helen Evans, Interim CEO, GAVI Alliance

But while the global rotavirus disease burden remains high, encouraging and growing evidence suggests that the introduction of rotavirus vaccines substantially reduce severe and fatal diarrhoea in young children.

Recognising the enormous potential impact of rotavirus vaccines on reducing child mortality, GAVI added rotavirus vaccines to its portfolio of vaccines for the poorest countries around the world. To date, four GAVI eligible countries have introduced the vaccine: Nicaragua, Honduras, Bolivia and Guyana. Sudan will be the first African country to introduce rotavirus vaccines before the end of the year.

GAVI is committed to working with its partners to accelerate the introduction of rotavirus vaccines in poor countries, and demand for rotavirus vaccines from GAVI-eligible countries is high.

With such life-saving tools within our reach, GAVI counts on the support of policymakers and donors to help accelerate the introduction of new and underused vaccines to the poorest children of the world. A successful outcome of GAVI's Pledging Conference on 13 June will allow another 4 million lives to be saved.

US$ 1 = US$ 18

A study in Health Affairs covering 73 Gavi-supported countries over the 2011–2020 period shows that, for every US$ 1 spent on immunisation, US$ 18 are saved in healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity due to illness. If we take into account the broader benefits of people living longer, healthier lives, the return on investment rises to US$ 48 per US$ 1 spent.

Ozawa S, Clark S, Portnoy A et al. Return on investment from childhood immunizations in low- and middle-income countries, 2011-20, Health Affairs 2016

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