Haiti: Duval Goodwine, coordinator at the Taifer clinic, carries vaccination supplies in a cold box to a satellite health clinic high in the Haitian mountains.
Photo credit: GAVI/2013/Evelyn Hockstein
New York, 26 September 2013 – The GAVI Alliance today launched an initiative to tap the brain power and skills of global corporations to help immunise children in areas where poor transportation, inadequate or non-existent refrigeration and weak stock management prevent delivery of vaccines.
Under the initiative, which involves two new programmes (details below), GAVI will partner with global corporations that have developed sophisticated supply chains to overcome obstacles in product delivery, as well as with foundation funders. GAVI currently is in talks with several technology, freight and logistics companies about sharing their supply chain expertise.
GAVI invited additional private sector participation while announcing the initiative today to hundreds of corporate and global development leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meetings.
“Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective healthcare interventions ever invented, but they can become unusable due to supply chain failures, requiring innovative ways to store and transport them,” says GAVI CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “GAVI is committed to deliver on its promise to immunise an additional quarter billion people by 2015. We know that the private sector can help us reach previously unreached children and save many more lives.”
The impact of the initiative will be monitored using indicators such as vaccine availability, vaccine utilisation rates and wastage rates. Given that about 20% of the world’s children go unvaccinated, leading to more than 1.5 million deaths each year, and that a substantial number of these deaths happen in places with inadequate vaccine delivery systems, the potential impact of the initiative could be transformative.
The newly created Supply Chain Technical Improvement Facility will provide expedited funding to GAVI-supported countries to overcome immediate bottlenecks in the supply chain or cold chain (storage and transportation of refrigerated vaccines). The Facility – funded by the private sector – will begin accepting applications from GAVI-eligible countries in late 2013.
“The ability to rapidly respond to problems in the vaccine supply chain will be transformative,” Dr Berkley says. “We hope this will enable us to reach many of the children who have missed out because they live in places where vaccines don’t make it through the system.”
Improvements in the supply chain are critical to reduce the barriers that keep kids from being immunised.
Dr Seth Berkley, GAVI CEO
GAVI also is working to create a Supply Chain Centre of Excellence involving a handful of global corporations to incubate solutions to GAVI’s most difficult vaccine delivery challenges. These can range from poorly performing or obsolete cold chain equipment and inadequate transportation networks, to bureaucratic import procedures and deficient computer systems that track vaccine stocks.
GAVI currently is in discussions with several global corporations to join the Centre. These companies would work jointly with GAVI, partner governments and technical specialists to develop country-specific plans to tackle difficult supply chain challenges.
Centre members would meet regularly to provide supply chain advice, best practices, technical assistance and funding. Members would also work with partner countries on individual projects slated to begin in the first half of 2014, and evaluated in 2015.
Private sector donations to GAVI through the Improvement Facility will be doubled through the GAVI Matching Fund by the UK Government or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Similarly, cash and in-kind contributions made by companies through the Centre, also will be doubled.
The GAVI Matching Fund is a major private sector programme designed to match contributions from corporations, foundations, their customers, members, employees and business partners. To date, the GAVI Matching Fund has attracted 10 private sector partners to GAVI’s mission, raising US$ 148 million for GAVI programmes and providing significant business expertise, advocacy and visibility.
“The need to reach the unreached with vaccines is at the core of GAVI’s mission, bringing equity in immunisation to children everywhere,” says Dr Berkley, noting that the portfolio of antigens recommended by the World Health Organization since 2000 has nearly doubled to 11. “Supply chains in developing countries are under immense pressure as demand grows and vaccines become more complex. Improvements in the supply chain are critical to reduce the barriers that keep kids from being immunised.”
GAVI is funded by governments [Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States], the European Commission, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as private and corporate partners [Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, Dutch Postcode Lottery, His Highness Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities and Vodafone].
Click to view the full donor list.