Gavi at WHA 76: Immunisation as a pillar for ‘Health for All’
From 21–30 May, world leaders and global health champions from the UN, partner agencies, civil society and the private sector will convene in Geneva for the 76th World Health Assembly under the banner: “Saving lives, driving health for all”.
- 19 May 2023
- 4 min read
- by Wambui Munge
This year's World Health Assembly will be an opportunity to highlight effective, efficient and resilient immunisation services as the cornerstone of primary healthcare and key contributor to universal health coverage.
The big catch-up
The pandemic left an unprecedented impact on national health systems and set back decades of progress on women's, children's and adolescents' health, as well as on prevention and eradication of communicable diseases. In 2021 alone, 25 million children globally (approximately the population of Shanghai, China) have missed out on at least one vaccination. In the 57 Gavi-supported countries, the number of zero dose children – those who have not received even a single basic vaccine and face multiple deprivations – increased to 12.5 million.
More than ever, countries must prioritise routine immunisation, as it is one of the most efficient and cost-effective health interventions with the greatest reach to strengthen the resilience of society, health systems and people.
Alongside these effects on routine immunisation programming, the COVID-19 crisis revealed significant challenges for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPPR). During the most acute phase of the pandemic, some governments leveraged their resources to hedge against unknowns and ordered large volumes of COVID-19 vaccine doses in advance, negatively impacting timely access to these vaccines for populations of lower-income countries. Similarly, other forms of nationalism – such as export restrictions imposed by key producing country governments – had negative impacts on the flow of global vaccine supply.
Climate change, rising humanitarian needs, and other emergencies are further exacerbating inequity and limiting access to health services. More than ever, countries must prioritise routine immunisation, as it is one of the most efficient and cost-effective health interventions with the greatest reach to strengthen the resilience of society, health systems and people.
In an increasingly complex environment, Gavi's model must continue to adapt, actively learning from the pandemic to unlock new tools, new partnerships and innovations to catch up and expand immunisation for the world's most vulnerable people.
Have you read?
There is no health for all without vaccines for all
By bringing most households into contact with health systems, routine immunisation serves as a powerful platform to co-deliver other primary health care (PHC) services to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC). At the same time, routine immunisation plays a crucial role in preventing outbreaks and future pandemics while laying the infrastructure for effective vaccine delivery during health emergencies.
During WHA, Gavi encourages member states and partners to take concrete actions to ensure no one is left behind with immunisation.
Join the conversation
Gavi will host and participate in a series of events on the sidelines of WHA 76. Join us in person or online to get an inside look at the debates, opportunities, and big ideas taking place at this critical moment on the global health calendar.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
- "Towards successful transition: intensifying transition preparedness in countries in accelerated transition" – A side event co-hosted for a unique opportunity for Gavi supported countries to convene and discuss on the important topic of the Gavi Accelerated Transition Phase (ATP), sharing their experiences, challenges and best practices. This event is being hosted at the Global Health Campus and is by invitation only.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
- "Regaining lost ground child immunization: building national political will and commitments to catch up, recover and strengthen immunization" – A side event co-hosted with IA2030 Partners, Brazil, and others, to recognise countries that are tangibly advancing immunisation goals while encouraging all countries to fully commit to regaining lost ground. Speakers will share insights, lessons learned and best practices from different country contexts to help inform collective progress on immunisation going forward. This event is by invitation only.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
- "A bright future for girls and women: building a world without cervical cancer" – A side event co-hosted with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, WEF, ACTION Partnership, and others to bring together countries who are focused on cervical cancer elimination, including those with an intention to introduce or scale up HPV vaccines into their immunisation programs, as well as representatives from multilateral partners and interest groups. This event is by invitation only.
Friday, May 26, 2023
- "A safer and healthier tomorrow through restoring essential immunization today"– Part of the official WHO programme, this event will bring together countries that have already made remarkable progress towards immunisation recovery to explore the factors that drive this success. Panellists will discuss best practices in engaging communities in immunisation programmes and how to strengthen health systems from the bottom up. Gavi's CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, will be a panellist. This is part of the official programme and is being hosted at the Palais des Nations and streamed online.