Geneva, 20 December 2011 - The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today it will contribute US$ 55.5 million to the GAVI Alliance to support its 2012 immunisation programmes to protect millions of children in developing countries against preventable diseases.
The contribution includes an additional US$ 18.5 million from Sweden’s initial commitment, which was announced at the GAVI pledging conference on 13 June 2011.
Sweden is the first GAVI donor to further increase its contribution following the conference.
GAVI’s immunisation programmes save millions of lives in developing countries in a most cost-effective way - a priority in Swedish development policy.
Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation
“GAVI’s immunisation programmes save millions of lives in developing countries in a most cost-effective way - a priority in Swedish development policy,” said Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson.
Sweden was among the group of donors who committed US$ 4.3 billion to the GAVI Alliance in June. The funds will enable GAVI to reach more children with immunisation and to accelerate the introduction of new vaccines.
Working through its partners including Ministries of Health in developing countries, GAVI assures the routine immunisation of millions of children every year against life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Hib, meningitis, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
"We are delighted to receive this very welcome support from the Government of Sweden particularly because increasing the contribution over their pledge is a clear vote of confidence." said Dr Seth Berkley, GAVI’s CEO.
"We will ensure that this generous donation is used to fund new and underused vaccines as well as health systems strengthening programmes to ensure that vaccines can be delivered to everyone who needs them,” he added.
Sweden’s increased contribution coincides with a recently published Swedish multilateral aid review that found that “GAVI is a highly relevant organisation for Sweden’s development cooperation based on its business model, its strong poverty focus and its clear contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (especially Goal 4)”, scoring top marks in the assessment.
The review further noted that the “Alliance has an adequate risk management system in place and deals with operational risks in a systematic manner”.
Carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the review was part of a process to ensure maximum value from Swedish contributions to international organisations such as the GAVI Alliance.
HPV is the biggest cause of cervical cancer, which kills some 275,000 women every year, the majority in developing countries. Rubella is an acute viral infection which can cause severe health problems during pregnancy to both the mother and the unborn child.
"I am particularly delighted that GAVI is taking important steps towards the introduction of the HPV vaccine. But the price of this vaccine still needs to go down and we must ensure that we provide the vaccine at an affordable price together with comprehensive sexual education," emphasised Minister Carlsson.
Sweden is one of GAVI’s original six donor countries and finances the Alliance both through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation and direct contributions.