Liberia champions childhood vaccines and Gavi at UN General Assembly

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African leaders express support to the Vaccine Alliance with goal of reaching every child

UNGA liberia

From left to right: Liberia Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Ngafuan, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley
Credit: Gavi/2014/Pascal Barollier

New York, 25 September 2014 – Hosting a side event at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf highlighted the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in helping countries like her own to implement routine immunisation and strengthen health systems.

The side event, entitled “Reach every child- Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; inspiring innovation”, focused on equitable access to vaccines, country ownership and the importance of domestic leadership in routine immunisation programmes.

Due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, President Johnson Sirleaf was unable to attend the event in person. Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, welcomed guests on her behalf, noting President Johnson Sirleaf’s strength and leadership during this time of suffering.

“What better reminder is there than an outbreak, a crisis?” asked Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “The most important way to deal with infectious diseases is to prevent them, and the best way to do that is with vaccines.”

Thanks to Gavi, we have been able to reduce enormously the diseases in our country.  I ask us all  in Africa to have the political will to combat vaccine-preventable diseases.  

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Liberia statement

Liberia Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Ngafuan discussed the devastation that Ebola has caused his country and stressed the importance of investing in health systems and immunisation programmes.

“As we await a scientific breakthrough for Ebola, we remember how Liberia has benefited from vaccines,” said Ngafuan. “In partnership with Gavi, Liberia has vaccinated thousands of children for diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. When a vaccine for Ebola becomes available, we will look to Gavi.”

Gavi replenishment

I am happy that Gavi has been aiding the area of strengthening our health systems, so we are able to confront any situation, accelerate immunisation, beat Ebola, beat any other problems.  

Uganda Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda

The event was attended by Gavi implementing countries, the donor community, officials from the UN, private sector partners and civil society. Dr. Margaret Chan, Secretary General of the World Health Organization, highlighted for event attendees the importance of fully funding Gavi for the 2016-2020 period and vowed to help Gavi rally support from donors.

“I strongly encourage you to support Gavi,” said Chan. “Gavi is one of those partnerships that is so cost-effective. Open your purse. Dig very deep. There are many priorities in the world, but this is a priority you will never regret.”

A successful replenishment would allow Gavi to reach an additional 300 million children with life-saving vaccines from 2016 to 2020, averting 5-6 million future deaths.

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