GAVI's CEO Dr Julian Lob-Levyt met with the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, and the new Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Elena Madrazo Hegewisch, to discuss future cooperation between the government and GAVI. Also invited to this meeting were Civil Society Organisations and the La Caixa Foundation, represented by Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Cristina. The Spanish Presidency of EU coincides with the Spanish government becoming a Board member of the GAVI Alliance in 2010.
We applaud the Spanish government's reaffirmed commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.
Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of the GAVI Alliance
In response to increasing demand from developing countries, GAVI has set out to raise US$ 500 million a year from 2009 through 2015 to accelerate vaccination programmes in 72 developing countries and avert hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.
"We applaud the Spanish government's reaffirmed commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," Dr Lob-Levyt said. "Their significant donation helps launch our increased efforts to protect even more women and children against disease and save more lives."
Over the next six years, the Alliance aims to expand its support to developing countries for vaccines against for example typhoid, rubella and Japanese Encephalitis.
"We strongly support GAVI's mission to save children's lives and protect poor people's health," the Secretary of State, Soraya Rodriguez said.
"This commitment is key to reach the MDGs, especially MDG 4 which aims to reduce child mortality by two thirds. Any progress we make in improving health in developing countries will be reflected in those countries' economic prospects. In times of crisis it is even more important to invest in social sectors like health."
Every year 24 million children miss out on immunisation against the most common childhood diseases. As a result, between two and three million girls and boys die every year of diseases which are easily preventable. Many more fall ill and lose school time.
Since 2006, Spain has supported GAVI through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), pledging nearly 190 million Euros over 20 years. The IFFIm raises money on the capital markets to finance immunisation and health system strengthening in poor countries through the GAVI Alliance.
The new 29 million Euro donation represents Spain's commitment to GAVI's direct funding platform, which is crucial for GAVI's core business of meeting developing countries' demand for immunisation and shifting to multi-year funding commitments.
GAVI considers Spain as a "model" country because both its public and private sectors support GAVI's immunisation programmes.
In addition to the government's support, the Alliance is also funded by La Caixa Foundation, with an initial contribution of four million Euros to GAVI in 2008. La Caixa, Spain's largest savings bank, and their Foundation, also launched the Business Alliance for Child Vaccination, an initiative which calls on Spanish companies to take up the global health challenge.
"It is paramount for GAVI to provide predictable funding for immunisation and other health interventions because developing countries need to be able to plan ahead," Dr Lob-Levyt said. "Donors like Spain understand this and have been extremely conducive in providing the necessary long-term support to boost immunisation rates in the world's poorest countries."