Private sector partnerships prove critical to vaccinating children in poorest countries

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GAVI Matching Fund raises US$ 152 million with support from corporations and foundations

Davos CEO breakfast

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance; Christopher Elias, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Justine Greening, Secretary of State, UK Department for International Development; Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID.
Credit: GAVI/2014/Tobias Schmid.

Davos, Switzerland, 24 January 2014 – A unique vaccine funding mechanism that leverages cash and business expertise from corporations and foundations has secured more than US$ 150 million in just 30 months, it was announced today at a CEO Breakfast organised by the GAVI Alliance during the World Economic Forum.

The private sector contributions are being used to help GAVI immunise children in developing countries. The GAVI Matching Fund, supported by the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, matches donations from companies, foundations, their employees, and business partners, to purchase vaccines, address operational challenges and improve efficiency in vaccine delivery.

Since the GAVI Matching Fund was established in June 2011, 12 private sector partners have donated US$ 76 million, an amount matched by the UK Government or the Gates Foundation.

In addition, corporations such as Vodafone have provided significant technology and expertise to help address operational challenges, such as maintaining appropriate vaccine stocks. Others, such as the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, are helping GAVI overcome urgent problems in transportation and refrigeration.

Bill Gates and Justine Greening underlined the critical role private sector partnerships play in boosting global health. They both called for increased participation by the private sector to help reach the 22 million children who go unvaccinated each year.

Speaking at the event, UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Every twenty seconds a child dies from preventable diseases. Britain is supporting GAVI’s work across the developing world to help end this tragedy. Just as Britain is harnessing the private sector to change the way we do development, these business partnerships are delivering the investment needed to bring life-saving vaccines to millions of the world’s poorest children.”

“The private sector - working closely with Governments and civil society - can play a crucial role in delivering vaccines to save children’s lives,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “GAVI has been a game changer in the field of immunisation by using new technology and innovative finance schemes to accelerate the delivery of vaccines.”

More than 30 CEOs, senior executives, and government leaders attended the CEO Breakfast to discuss ways that the private sector is engaging in global health and immunisation.

“The private sector has been a vital partner in helping GAVI overcome significant obstacles to vaccinating the world’s poorest children,” said GAVI Alliance Board Chair Dagfinn Høybråten. “Vaccines have demonstrated significant public health returns and proven to be an engine for economic development. Public-private partnerships make sense.”

Private sector lends funding, skills, advocacy, visibility

Vaccines have demonstrated significant public health returns and proven to be an engine for economic development. Public-private partnerships make sense. 

Dagfinn Høybråten, GAVI Alliance Board Chair

GAVI is well-positioned for an active year in working with the private sector. It began with the implementation this month of a multi-year initiative, announced in December 2012, with Vodafone to deploy mobile technology in 90 remote health facilities in Mozambique – nearly 10% of all immunisation facilities in the country - to increase immunisation coverage, reduce drop-out rates and improve vaccine stock management.

The Vodafone project highlights GAVI’s focus on bringing private sector expertise to help overcome operational challenges to immunisation. Vodafone’s mobile technology will enable health workers to register, update and search vaccine records, send targeted alerts and reminders to care givers, monitor vaccine stocks via mobile phones and provide near instant reports for health workers and managers. If successful, it could be rolled out nationally and offered to other African countries.

GAVI also has partnered with Lions Clubs International and LDS Charities, both of whom are deploying global networks of volunteers to help GAVI increase immunisation rates by educating the public about the availability and benefits of vaccines. Comic Relief, another GAVI private sector partner, has highlighted immunisation to millions through telethons on the BBC and with British Airways. GAVI’s first private sector partner, Spain’s "la Caixa" bank, has helped raise significant funds for GAVI through its foundation by engaging its employees and the Spanish business sector in supporting immunisation programmes. 

New contributions to GAVI announced at the CEO Breakfast include US$ 4 million through a donation from the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation: US$ 2 million matched by the UK Government. This will support a Supply Chain Fund that will help countries address urgent problems in vaccine transportation, refrigeration, or stock management to help ensure that children receive life-saving vaccines.

"I hope that the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation investment to set up the Supply Chain Fund will help improve the delivery of vaccines to children in the poorest countries,” said Tom McPartland, CEO of The ELMA Philanthropies Services. “We are committed to overcoming roadblocks in delivering temperature-sensitive vaccines to remote areas so that every child everywhere is vaccinated.”

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