Geneva, 23 January 2008 - Targetted immunisation backed by innovative financing to pay for the introduction of new vaccines is key to reducing child mortality in the world's poorest countries, the GAVI Alliance said today.
Welcoming UNICEF's 2008 State of the World's Children report, which was released in Geneva on Tuesday, January 22, the GAVI Alliance said its financial and programmatic support to vaccinate children in 73 of the world's poorest countries has helped avert 2.9 million future deaths since 2000 and has had a significant impact on bringing child mortality down below 10 million per year for the first time in history.
The UNICEF report on the theme of child survival calls for more to be done to stop 9.7 million dying before their fifth birthday while highlighting the importance of immunisation and global health partnerships, like GAVI, to help reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
GAVI brings together major stakeholders in global health and child immunisation including UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, developing country and donor governments, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
New WHO projections for 2000 to 2007 show GAVI support has:
The new and underused vaccines supported by GAVI in this period prevent hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and yellow fever. The WHO data projects that GAVI's support for the introduction of these vaccines has resulted in:
"The GAVI model is working. We have built a strong reputation for success, innovation and fiduciary responsibility over the past seven years," said Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI Executive Secretary. "Through an alliance of public and private partners, we are finding new and innovative ways to work together to bring more and better support to improve the health of millions of children and adults in the poorest countries."
Launched in 2000 at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, GAVI has had an enormous impact on the global health agenda by forging a new business model for development and raising new money for immunisation and health programmes.
In November 2006, GAVI raised $1 billion in new funds for immunisation and health system strengthening through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), $854 million of which has already been disbursed to developing countries. An overall anticipated IFFIm investment of $4 billion is expected to prevent five million child deaths between 2006 and 2015, and more than five million future adult deaths.
"The health community is at a seminal point in addressing fundamental challenges in global health," said Lob-Levyt. "With the successes we are achieving in immunisation, there is a concerted effort towards better coordination in order to optimise the delivery of life-saving vaccines and health services."
GAVI resources help strengthen health and immunisation systems, accelerating access to new and under-used vaccines. For the period 2000-2015, GAVI has committed $3.5 billion in multi-year grants to the world's poorest countries.
GAVI is a member of the International Health Partnership and the H8 Group of global health leaders. Both groups are focusing on how better to strengthen aid coordination and national health systems in developing countries.
i More than 2.5 million child deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles are estimated to be prevented annually as a result of immunisation. Hepatitis B vaccination prevents an estimated 600 000 hepatitis B-related deaths (from liver cirrhosis and cancer) annually that would have otherwise occurred in adulthood.
ii Not all children received all three vaccines. Therefore, the total figure of 176 million children is not the sum of children vaccinated against hepatitis B, Hib, and yellow fever.
About the GAVI Alliance
GAVI's efforts are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on child health, which calls for reducing childhood mortality by two thirds by 2015. Of the 9.7 million children who die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, 2.5 million die from diseases that could be prevented with currently available or new vaccines.
The GAVI Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) has received a total of nearly $3 billion in direct funding from private sources such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, and governments including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation Company ("IFFIm") was established as a multilateral development institution to accelerate the availability of funds to be used for health and immunisation programmes through the GAVI Alliance in more than 70 of the poorest countries around the world.
International Finance Facility for Immunisation Company, 2 Lambs Passage, London EC1Y 8BB. Registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee with number 5857343 and as a charity with number 1115413.