Hanoi, 19 November 2009 - Fifteen health ministers from low-income countries today received awards from the GAVI Alliance for their outstanding performance in improving child health and immunisation.
At a ceremony at the GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum in Hanoi, GAVI Board Chair Mary Robinson, GAVI Immunize Every Child Board member, La Infanta Cristina of Spain, and GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt presented the ministers with an engraved plaque to recognise their success. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka, a South-African singer, moderated the event.
With these awards we acknowledge the great work that so many of you are doing--at times in extremely challenging circumstances-to provide immunisation services to mothers and children.
Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI CEO
GAVI's CEO Julian Lob-Levyt noted that the awards recognise the work of all those responsible for the success of the nations honoured in Hanoi, including the individuals who work in national health care systems and the GAVI partners who collaborate with the governments to help overcome financial and logistical barriers.
"All have worked hard to make these achievements possible," he said at the celebration. "With these awards we acknowledge the great work that so many of you are doing--at times in extremely challenging circumstances-to provide immunisation services to mothers and children."
Among the awards were those given to countries for highest co-financing of vaccines and for best performance in routine immunisation. Some were also recognised for successfully:
Vietnam, the host country of the GAVI Partners' Forum, and Nepal received awards for the highest average annual rate of reduction of child mortality among all of the 72 GAVI countries since 1990.
"We recognise that effective and sustainable programmes require careful attention to a variety of factors," Dr Lob-Levyt said.
"You have to ensure that the vaccines are available; that stocks are well managed, and your staff is well trained. You also need to put in place a workable delivery system for reaching every child, and you must have adequate resources to sustain the introduction of new vaccines. This is why we gave awards in different categories."
Platform to exchange ideas
The 2009 GAVI Partners' Forum from 18 to 20 November is a platform to exchange ideas about existing opportunities and about GAVI's policies and strategy for the next five years through 2015.
The meeting gathers more than 400 participants, among them global health leaders and a wide range of international delegates from GAVI-eligible countries and from donor countries, representatives of civil society organisations, technical experts and private sector partners.
The aim is to learn about developing countries' experiences in fighting vaccine-preventable disease and discuss challenges ahead.
The meeting in Hanoi takes place just one month after the release of the 2009 State of the World's Vaccines and Immunization by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank (http://www.who.int/immunization/sowvi/en).
These GAVI partners reported that worldwide immunisation rates are now at their highest ever. At the same time, the report acknowledged the need for donor nations to address a funding gap that leaves millions of children still at risk, particularly in the poorest nations and communities, where preventable diseases take their deadliest toll.
No. Of awards
Child Survival award
Best Immunisation performance
Medium coverage - Congo, Djibouti
Introduction of new vaccines
Vaccine stock management