A further $4.3 billion is needed if a global vaccines alliance is to meet its goal of supplying life-saving immunisations to millions of children in poor countries by 2015, the organisation said recently.
The GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation) said it had asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to “make a strong impact” on childhood death rates.
In 2000, world leaders from 189 countries signed up to the Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help meet that goal.
GAVI has almost completed a large-scale campaign to supply so-called pentavalent, or five-in-one, vaccines to fight a range of preventable diseases including hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib in developing countries.
“With $7 billion, (GAVI) will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea in over 40 countries,” it said in a statement. “These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015.”
Children in rich nations are routinely immunised against the bacteria causing deadly diseases — namely Hib, pneumococcus and rotavirus — but in much of Africa, Asia and Latin America, babies and young people often remain dangerously exposed.
The scale of GAVI’s buying and distribution power allows it to secure much lower prices for vaccines, which are then supplied to poor nations at a fraction of their cost. GAVI said last week it expected to announce a deal very soon on the supply of up to 200 million doses a year of cut-price pneumococcal vaccines to developing nations.
The pneumococcal deal will be partly funded by Britain, Italy, Canada, Russia, and Norway, who agreed in June last year to invest a total of $1.5 billion in the project.
Source: The Daily Star, March 27, 2010