Statements at opening plenary session of Fourth GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum

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Statements from the GAVI Board Chair Mary Robinson, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO, Her Royal Highness Princess Cristina of Spain and GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt

Mary Robinson, GAVI Board Chair

Saving the lives of children around the world is a global health imperative and a collective responsibility. Immunisation has saved millions of lives and remains one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health.

Today, more than 100 million children are routinely immunised against vaccine-preventable diseases. Yet an estimated 24 million children, most of them in developing countries, do not have access to life-saving vaccines.

The GAVI Alliance was created to provide equitable access to vaccines. Since 2000, GAVI and its partners have averted nearly four million deaths by bringing vaccines to children in low-income countries.

Access to good health care is a basic human right for all children.

Mary Robinson, GAVI Board Chair

Access to good health care is a basic human right for all children. It should not be determined by geography or income. We have an obligation to help ensure a healthy and prosperous life for every child.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, improve health, and ensure long-term prosperity. Vaccines are one of the great opportunities of our lifetime.

The current economic climate calls for increasing our focus on value for money.  Vaccines are a proven, effective and inexpensive solution.

For the first time, the number of children dying each year has fallen bellow nine million. Ensuring universal access to effective, safe and affordable vaccines will save millions more.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO

Immunisation has a critical role to play in reaching the Millennium Development Goal set for reducing child mortality.

To achieve this goal, we need to sustain worldwide gains made in the uptake of basic vaccines. But we also need to ensure that new vaccines and technologies are introduced without delays in all countries in need no matter what the income level.

Her Royal Highness Princess Cristina of Spain

Partnership is critical if we are to maintain the momentum," said . "Low-income countries, donor partners, international organizations and the private sector all must do their part.

Introduction of new vaccines to fight the leading causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea, the most common killers of children, is crucial to achieving the Millennium Development Goal aimed at reducing child mortality. Country demand for pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines is strong and GAVI's support for introducing these two vaccines could save the lives of up to 11 million children by 2030.

GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt

Countries have demonstrated that they are committed to immunising their children and improving their health systems. We have the vaccines, the country demand for them, and the delivery systems in place. Before us now stands an historic opportunity to make another great leap towards reducing child mortality in our lifetime. We should seize it.

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