Statement by Helen Evans, Interim CEO, GAVI Alliance

The world's major economies gather this week in Seoul for the G20 Summit to discuss how to achieve sustainable economic growth and development.

The G20 includes ten GAVI donors* and two implementing countries, India and Indonesia. Together, these countries have directly contributed to GAVI's success in preventing 5.4 million deaths in its first 10 years. Korea, the host of the G20 meeting, last month became the latest government donor to support GAVI's immunisation and health programmes.

We are counting on supporters at the table to advocate for health broadly and the power of immunisation specifically.

Helen Evans, Interim CEO, GAVI Alliance

Proven impact

GAVI's successful first decade relied on strong commitment from both GAVI donor and GAVI implementing countries.

For example, 10 years ago, GAVI helped China introduce Hepatitis B vaccine. More than 11 million children were protected against Hepatitis B in the country's poorest and most remote western and central provinces. Now China is joining the other leading countries as a supporter of immunisation, offering expertise and other support to help developing countries introduce vaccines.

Such achievements are encouraging steps towards our life-saving mission. An estimated 4.2 million future deaths could be prevented through immunisation by 2015. GAVI needs to raise US$4.3 billion to scale-up immunisation programmes in developing countries between 2010 and 2015.

Call to action

This week at the G20 meeting, development will rightly be on the agenda. We are counting on supporters at the table to advocate for health broadly and the power of immunisation specifically. History has shown that immunisation programmes in impoverished countries not only save lives, but also boost economies, acting as a key driver of development.

A study by researchers with the Harvard School of Public Health found a high economic return from immunisation, determining that as well as improving health, vaccines have long-term effects on the development of an individual. These individual effects, which are produced at a remarkably low cost, have a lasting effect on economies.**

GAVI provides an opportunity to set the poorest countries on the road towards greater prosperity and security. Healthy children go to school, and become part of a productive workforce, a key driver of sustainable growth and development. We urge the G20 to recognise and advance this agenda.

* G20 GAVI donors: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA + the European Commission. Brazil also pledged support to the IFFIm.

** The study estimates that spending on immunisation earns a rate of return of 18 percent. Bloom DE, Canning D, Weston M. The value of vaccination. World Econ. 2005 Jul-Sep; 6(3):15-39.

Subscribe to our newsletter