Canberra, 29 October 2014 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance today welcomed the Australian Government’s AUD 50 million commitment towards protecting children in the world’s poorest countries against vaccine-preventable diseases.
This new support brings Australia’s total direct contribution to Gavi for the current 2011-2015 five-year strategic period to AUD 250 million. During the same period Australia has contributed AUD 32 million to the Gavi through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation, known as IFFIm.
The Australian Foreign Minister, The Honourable Julie Bishop, announced the new funding at a parliamentary reception attended by Australian MPs, NGO representatives and the Gavi CEO, Dr Seth Berkley.
"This commitment will make an enormous difference to lives around the world," Ms Bishop said.
"Australia and Gavi are not only helping individuals, families and communities – we are also building stronger health systems in developing countries where better public health is desperately needed."
"We are most grateful for Australia’s continued strong support," said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. "Australians can be assured that they are contributing to protecting the lives of children living in some of the most challenging circumstances including in countries such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Laos and Timor Leste.
"Gavi's public private partnership model helps Australian aid dollars reach further than they otherwise would. Combined with Australian scientific innovations such as the discovery of Rotavirus vaccine and the development of HPV vaccine, Australia is playing a big role in reducing the burden of vaccine preventable disease."
As one of Gavi’s top ten donors, Australia has played a key role in supporting developing countries to immunise 440 million additional children – including 230 million in the Asia-Pacific region – since 2000, saving six million lives, through the introduction of new and effective vaccines against childhood killers such as pneumococcal pneumonia and severe diarrhoea. Australian support has also enabled Gavi to help countries begin introducing Human Papillomavirus vaccine which protects against cervical cancer, one of the leading killers of women in developing countries.
However there is still more to be done. Gavi is aiming to secure an additional US$ 7.5 billion to fully fund immunisation programmes in developing countries between 2016 and 2020. This will enable countries to immunise an additional 300 million children, saving five to six million lives. Gavi’s partners will gather in Berlin on 27 January 2015 for a pledging event hosted under the patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Australia has been a Gavi donor since 2006 and contributes to the Vaccine Alliance through direct contributions and the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm). IFFIm allows Gavi to sell vaccine bonds against donor commitments and front load its investment in life saving vaccines.
In 2012 an Australian Government review of multilateral aid ranked Gavi as a top performing organisation.