Geneva, 6 February 2007 - The GAVI Alliance announced today that Sweden is making a multi-year contribution to support immunisation and health systems in the world's poorest countries. The SEK 300 million (US $42 million) donation from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) reflects the country's long-term commitment to global health and poverty eradication goals.
"By the end of 2006, the partners of the GAVI Alliance have collectively prevented the deaths of 2.3 million children. That's a remarkable achievement by anyone's standards", said Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the Alliance. "This kind of achievement would never have been possible without the support of our long term partners such as the Government of Sweden. We are grateful Sweden is renewing its commitment to the GAVI Alliance based on the substantial results we have collectively achieved to date."
Sweden's SEK300 million contribution to the GAVI Alliance will be provided in three instalments from 2006 to 2008. This is Sweden's sixth contribution to the Alliance and a significant increase over early donations starting in 2001.
More than 10 million children in the developing world still die every year before reaching their fifth birthday, and a quarter of these deaths could be prevented by use of currently available or new vaccines.
"The fight against communicable diseases in poor nations is a high priority for Sweden as this contributes directly to improving global health and is crucial if we are to reach the Millennium Development Goal on reducing child mortality," said Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation.
"Sweden's new donation to the GAVI Alliance will directly contribute to reducing child mortality by reaching poor families with vaccinations and enabling health systems to provide better services to those most in need," noted Maria Norrfalk, Sida's Director General.
In addition to its GAVI contribution, Sweden is also one of the lead nations committing funds to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), an innovative financing mechanism which uses pledges of future aid to leverage money from international capital markets to support purchases of vaccines and improve health services in poor nations. Sweden has committed a total of SEK 276,150,000 (US$ 38 million) to be paid to the IFFIm over the next 15 years.
Despite progress made to date in raising global immunisation coverage, more than 27 million children still go without life-saving vaccines every year. As a result, illnesses from preventable diseases in developing countries are nine times higher than in the richest countries. If the needed funds could be raised, an additional 10 million deaths could be prevented over the next decade according to GAVI Alliance estimates.
The GAVI Alliance
An alliance of all the major stakeholders in immunisation, the GAVI Alliance includes among its partners developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million early deaths will have been prevented as a result of support by GAVI up to the end of 2006.
GAVI's efforts are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on child health, which calls for reducing childhood mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Of the more than 10 million children who die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, 2.5 million die from diseases that could be prevented with currently available or new vaccines.