Palais des Nations, Committee A, 20 May 2011

Mercy Ahun, Managing Director, Programme Delivery, GAVI Alliance

Intervention at World Health Assembly Provisional Agenda Item 13.5 - Global Immunization Vision and Strategy 

Thank you, Chair.

I'd like to thank the Member States that have voiced their support for the GAVI Alliance.  At the GAVI Alliance we are in the privileged position of being able to provide financial support to countries for immunisation and other supporting programmes. Member States are of course the ones who have to do the hard work to make sure it happens.

So I would like to congratulate countries which have done so much to demonstrate the impact immunisation can have. This includes both increasing coverage rates with existing vaccines and rolling out new ones as they become available.

Since the paper you have been discussing was written, there has been significant progress in introducing new vaccines. Commencing in December 2010, six countries - Nicaragua, Guyana, Yemen, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - have all introduced pneumococcal vaccines. GAVI has committed to support the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines in 19 countries by 2012 and, if we receive sufficient support from donors, we plan to roll them out to more than 40 countries by 2015.

Following WHO's recommendation of 5 June 2009 that rotavirus be included in all national immunisation programmes, we have been able to provide support to countries that wish to introduce it - and we are eager to continue working with more countries to scale-up the introduction of rotavirus.

I would also like to acknowledge the strong support the GAVI Alliance receives from WHO as a critical partner in achieving our mission and thank them. WHO's technical strength and country presence has been invaluable from the first days of GAVI's existence.

As many of you will know, this is a particularly important year for the GAVI Alliance as we commence our new five-year strategy and as we make the final preparations for a pledging conference in London on 13 June.

The results of this conference will significantly determine our ability to deliver on that strategy and the future pace of new vaccine availability in GAVI-eligible countries.  We have been fortunate to receive strong political leadership and support from the UK government, which is hosting the conference, as well as from other key donors who we understand are preparing to step up significantly their contributions. I am grateful that Dr Chan has agreed to attend and address the conference.

The June pledging conference represents an extraordinary opportunity for all of us. With sufficient funding we have the opportunity to rapidly accelerate the introduction of new vaccines including pneumo and rota and to save many more children's lives. If we are successful in June, we will be able to avert an additional four million deaths by 2015. That is in addition to the five million deaths already averted through accelerated national immunisation programmes with GAVI support. 

Thank you for your attention and for your support. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship and together preventing the deaths of many more children around the world.

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