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GAVI calls for vaccine funding

The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has marked its tenth anniversary with a plea for donations

The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has marked its tenth anniversary with a plea for donations.

In its progress report, published today, Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of GAVI, recognises that in the global financial crisis, donors want to focus on cost-effective, evidence-based interventions like immunisation. He said GAVI's donors had remained committed in 2009 despite the economic downturn, but cautioned that there was still much to be done.

"There are new vaccines that can dramatically reduce deaths and illness from pneumonia and diarrhoea and developing countries are clamouring for them,” said Lob-Levyt.

“We urgently need an additional $2.6bn to roll out these vaccines. If we do not, children will die in large numbers unnecessarily."

He pointed out that with full funding, GAVI could help developing countries immunise more than 240 million children and prevent some four million deaths by 2015, including one million from pneumococcus and rotavirus, the two main causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea, respectively.

GAVI needs a total of $4.3bn between now and 2015 to sustain all of its existing and planned programmes.

Immunisation coverage rates in the world's poor countries have reached nearly 80 per cent since GAVI was created in 2000. Of the 20 countries in the world with the highest child mortality rates, 19 are in Africa.

"Mobilising political will and resources is crucial for GAVI to be able to make a significant contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015," said Mary Robinson, chair of the GAVI board.

"Stronger health systems in developing countries are needed to reach mothers and children with basic services. GAVI is taking this into account by engaging in the common Health System Funding Platform together with the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with the coordination of the World Health Organisation."

The report adds that GAVI's co-financing policy is working well. In 2009, 44 of the world's poorest countries - almost 90 per cent of those that were required to - contributed towards the cost of GAVI-supported vaccines, with co-payments totalling over $25m.

The board will discuss a proposal that all eligible countries should contribute to new vaccine support and that the funds used by a government to co-finance GAVI vaccines come from new and additional financing and do not displace resources that were targeted for other vaccines.

16th June 2010

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