Developing nations take increasing responsibility for immunisation

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Co-financing commitments to triple by 2015 

Geneva, 8 June 2011 - Developing nations are making increasing financial commitments to the cost of childhood immunisation, a key foundation for social and economic development, the GAVI Alliance said ahead of a pledging conference on 13 June.

Vaccinating our children is essential if we want to offer them a better future, and a chance to lead a productive life.

Adama Traore, Burkina Faso's Minister of Health

Under GAVI's co-financing policy, countries receiving immunisation support must pay a percentage towards the cost of vaccines, depending on their ability to pay. By 2015, and based on several assumptions, GAVI expects countries to triple approximately the total level of co-financing commitment to a total US$ 100 million by 2015. 

"My country Senegal and dozens of other countries… are taking this responsibility for our citizens by pledging as of today to co-finance the purchase of these vaccines," wrote Senegal's Minister of Health and Prevention, Modou Diagne Fada, in a recent editorial for Le Monde newspaper. "Vaccinating a child is investing in the future."

In 2010, 10 countries were showing their commitment by paying more than required and ensuring a steady path to self-sustainability. The GAVI policy on co-financing aims to put countries on a path to a time when they can afford their own vaccines without external support.

"Right from the start, our partner country health ministries have said immunising children is a shared responsibility and co-financing is an important part of that responsibility," said Helen Evans, GAVI's interim Chief Executive Officer. "And it's exciting to see countries increasing their financial commitments to this life-saving technology."

Considered to be one of public health's "best buys" for developing nations, immunisation is often cost-saving by reducing the need for health care and treatment. Eradicating smallpox at a one-time cost of about US$ 100 million saved the world US$ 1.35 billion per year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"By spending money on immunisation, we're saving on the costs of healthcare and medicines, and the tragedy of preventable death and disability," said Steven Toikilik, Papua New Guinea's National Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).

"We're financing at 68 cents per dose of pentavalent vaccine instead of the minimum 30 cents because this is an investment in our future," he said, referring to the GAVI-supported five-in-one vaccine which protects against five deadly diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

A public private partnership of agencies including UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, developing nations, donors, civil society, vaccine manufacturers, and others, the GAVI Alliance needs an extra US$ 3.7 billion to immunise a quarter of a billion children by 2015.

Even more children will be reached if GAVI can work with industry to further lower vaccine prices and engage new donors for expanded resources.

"Vaccinating our children is essential if we want to offer them a better future, and a chance to lead a productive life," said Burkina Faso's Minister of Health, Adama Traore. "We are proud to be co-financing."

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