Saving 4 million Children's Lives by 2015 is On Course, by Susan Sacirbey

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It has been funding that has too frequently lagged even as vaccines currently exist and new ones are being developed to address most infant preventable diseases/deaths. GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunisation) has been tasked over the last year to bridge the gap between preventable and funding. This week in London a major donors’ conference is being held bringing together country, institutional and individual donors. The goal was simply $4billion by 2015. Bill Gates and his foundation have been instrumental from the outset in GAVI’s birth and efforts. $1 billion was pledged by Gates at London and another approximately $2 billion by the United Kingdom. The gap appears well to being filled. GAVI works with UNICEF , other such institutions and governments in providing funding and then insuring transparency and effective delivery of such vaccines to the children of the most poor countries, mostly Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Corruption and waste are tackled at one end. However, cost and innovation are also addressed by encouraging pharmaceuticals to provide vaccines in bulk and at the most effective price/cost. The same concept can be applied to yet to be discovered/introduced vaccines, including to address HIV/AIDS. GAVI’s efforts can help reduce costs for vaccines and innovation for the more developed world in terms of existing and developing vaccines. That is the model. Funding has been most frequently the shortcoming. New vaccines offer the opportunity to give children a healthy start in life. Despite significant progress made in reducing childhood mortality, nearly two million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Most of these deaths occur in low-income countries. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are the two leading killers, causing nearly 40% of all childhood deaths. (From GAVI Statement) “The world’s poorest countries have expressed a strong interest in introducing new and underused vaccines. To date, 45 GAVI-eligible countries have expressed an interest in offering a vaccine against pneumococcal disease and 33 GAVI-eligible countries are planning to introduce a rotavirus vaccine against diarrhoeal disease. Responding to this demand for vaccines, the GAVI Alliance and its partners can seize the opportunity to save an additional four million children’s lives by rolling out new vaccines to tackle the main killers of children, pneumonia and diarrhoea. If fully funded, GAVI will support advances towards making a significant contribution to reducing under-five mortality, Millennium Development Goal 4, and to achieve the goals of the G8 leaders Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal, new born and child health. Full GAVI funding would also enable the Alliance to immunise an additional 243 million children in the poorest countries with vaccines against pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, and yellow fever, and ensure the complete roll-out of pentavalent vaccine. GAVI also aims to introduce new vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer in women, meningitis serogroup A, rubella, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis. In addition to its vaccine portfolio, GAVI provides support to country health systems to effectively deliver immunization.” Who is Giving or Lagging in Funding? The United States has provided a surprisingly low sum in comparison to GDP and per capita. The usual suspects in global humanitarianism also tend to be significant supporters of the immunization programs. The Organization of Islamic Countries is developing its own vaccines program. We had hoped and looked to help fuse the OIC and GAVI efforts bringing about ever greater complementarities. That remains to be seen. Further private funding efforts are needed. Mo and I are proud to have helped bring about GAVI’s first “Envoy” or Goodwill Ambassador Bill Roedy, former Chair of MTV International and more (BOTTOM PHOTO Bill & Alex Roedy with UNSG Ban Ki-Moon and wife Yoo Soon-taek) - ( ). This signifies a new outreach and awareness effort as well as complement to fundraising. In view of its immense contribution in saving children's lives, GAVI remains to be more fully recognized in public culture for the efforts and success. GAVI funding required to meet this challenge (From GAVI Statement) GAVI seeks to meet a rise in country demand for new and underused vaccines, in particular against pneumococcal disease. This requires funding of US$ 6.8 billion from 2011 to 2015. Ninety percent will go directly to vaccine support and associated services. US$ 3.1 billion of that amount is already assured through donor contributions and other sources. GAVI seeks pledges of US$3.7 billion in total to fully address this demand, including US$1.7 billion between 2011 and 2013. GAVI support to developing countries will be significantly enhanced if this funding is provided as more predictable long-term funding, critical to multi-year immunisation programmes, rather than annual, ad hoc contributions. Donors are also encouraged to donate to the innovative funding mechanisms, including IFFIm. The evidence base: more than five million lives saved in GAVI’s first decade GAVI has proven that it can achieve these results. Thanks to strong donor support, the GAVI Alliance has committed US$4 billion to country-led initiatives in the world’s poorest regions over the last decade. This enabled the Alliance to reach 288 million children with vaccines and save more than five million lives in its first decade of operations. Investments in immunisation are among the best value for money in global health. Immunisation is a highly-cost-effective foundation for strong communities and economies. For every premature death averted as a result of childhood immunisation, millions more are protected from common but preventable diseases enabling them to lead healthy and productive lives. More Related Reports at “Humanitarian” Channel - Including (FILM Report) – “7 Million Lives to Save” - By Susan Sacirbey Facebook – Become a Fan at “Diplomatically Incorrect” Twitter – Follow us at DiplomaticallyX