GAVI Alliance welcomes UK multilateral aid review

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GAVI recognised for critical role in reducing childhood deaths through vaccination and bringing together immunisation partners 

Geneva, 1 March 2011 - The GAVI Alliance welcomed a UK Government review issued today that found the public-private partnership to be highly cost effective and critical in reducing deaths among children under five years old.

The outcome of this review is extremely inspiring to all of GAVI. It will be very helpful in the efforts to mobilise the whole Alliance in stepping up to the urgent challenges of reaching every child with the vaccines that are now available.

Dagfinn Høybråten, Board Chair of the GAVI Alliance

Commissioned by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the review was part of a process to ensure maximum value from the UK's contributions to international organisations such as the GAVI Alliance.

Critical role

The Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) said GAVI played a unique role in increasing finance for immunisation and bringing together all immunisation partners and wider partners in global health. It identified GAVI as a "strong strategic fit with DFID priority objectives given its core focus on health and strong poverty focus."

"GAVI plays a critical role in the delivery of MDG 4 - reducing deaths among children under five years old. It contributes directly to MDG 5 and 6 through its support to health systems and impacts on MDG 1. The fact that these are some of the most off-track MDGs increases GAVI's relevance as part of the international development system. It has significantly increased finance for vaccinations and substantially improved vaccination coverage of new and underused vaccines," the review said.

"DFID's review confirms that childhood immunisation delivers measurable results and offers our donors very good value for money in terms of development assistance to the world's poorest countries," said Helen Evans, interim Chief Executive Officer at the GAVI Alliance.

Cost effective

The review described childhood immunisation as a highly cost effective health intervention and said GAVI's administration costs, at just 4% of its overall budget, were appropriate.

It gave GAVI high marks for pro-actively seeking and achieving a reduction in partners' costs and recognised its focus on impacting the vaccine market to reduce prices noting that "significant declines in vaccine prices have been achieved by aggregating demand although slower than expected."

"The GAVI business model is working well and despite some significant success in the area of pricing, we will not be satisfied until we see prices drop further and faster for all the vaccines that we work with," Helen Evans said. "As a constantly learning organisation, we also note that this review has highlighted areas where we could do more to improve our performance," she added.

For example, according to the review, "GAVI's financial management is generally strong and transparent with evidence of recent improvements and safeguards (Transparency and Accountability Policy and strengthened audit capacity), although lessons on financial management and tracking of cash based investments (are) still to be effectively implemented."

Approximately 85% of GAVI support consists of in-kind supply of vaccines and related commodities. Cash-based programmes make up approximately 15% of funding. Vaccines represent a low risk of theft compared to cash payments or other medicines for which there is a secondary market.
Over the last decade, GAVI has investigated misuse of its funds in several countries including Uganda in 2009. The Government of Uganda subsequently prosecuted four high-ranking officials for fraud and returned the money in full.

"We are acutely aware that the financial systems in some of the countries we help are not as robust as those found in developed countries - it is a challenge faced by nearly all development organisations," said Helen Evans. "It is our policy and practice to constantly monitor the use of our funds and immediately halt cash-based support wherever misuse is suspected."

A decade of difference

In its first decade of work, the Geneva-based public-private partnership has supported the immunisation of 288 million children to prevent more than five million future deaths, according to World Health Organization figures.

If fully funded between 2011 and 2015, the GAVI Alliance plans to finance the immunisation of 243 million additional children and save nearly four million more lives.

On 13 June, the UK government will co-host a GAVI pledging conference of its donors in London.

So far, the UK government has committed US$ 380 million equivalent in direct funding to GAVI, together with US$ 2.98 billion in support of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation, and US$ 485 million for the Advance Market Commitment for pneumococcal vaccines. (today's exchange rate £1.00 = $1.61)

"The outcome of this review is extremely inspiring to all of GAVI. It will be very helpful in the efforts to mobilise the whole Alliance in stepping up to the urgent challenges of reaching every child with the vaccines that are now available," said Dagfinn Høybråten, Board Chair of the GAVI Alliance. "The GAVI Board is grateful to the UK Government and DFID not just for this detailed review of our work and the UK's ongoing financial support, but also for their global vision and leadership in development assistance."

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