Saving the lives of children around the world is a global health imperative and a collective responsibility. Immunisation has saved millions of lives and remains one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health. Today, more than 100 million children are routinely immunised against vaccine-preventable diseases. Yet an estimated 24 million children, most of them in developing countries, miss out on life-saving vaccines. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation was created in 2000 to provide equitable and accelerated access to vaccines. GAVI’s first 10 years have helped avert five million future deaths with GAVI-funded vaccines reaching more than 250 million children in the poorest parts of the world.
Direct funding for our programmes from donor nations is critical if we are to help the world meet the Millennium Development Goals, but we dare not rely on development assistance alone. Through innovative financing mechanisms that provide predictable sources of new funding for health, the GAVI Alliance is helping developing countries increase their capacity to immunise their children and strengthen their health systems.
With the support of our donors and many partners, the GAVI Alliance has pioneered two innovative mechanisms for development:
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) converts long-term government pledges into immediately-available cash resources by issuing bonds on the capital markets. Since 2006 IFFIm has raised more than US$ 2.2 billion for GAVI programmes. This frontloading mechanism has effectively enabled us to double our spending and save lives today that would, otherwise, have been lost.
The Advance Market Commitment (AMC) accelerates the development and manufacture of vaccines for developing countries at prices they can afford. In June 2009, The GAVI Alliance partners, the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF, five national governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation formally kicked-off the first-ever AMC against pneumococcal disease.
These two initiatives are backed by the governments of Canada, France, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. IFFIm has also received pledges from Brazil and Australia. Furthermore, GAVI’s significant market-shaping impact on the vaccine market has been driving down immunisation costs worldwide. This is thanks to the Alliance’s ability to pool large volumes of funds over multi-year commitments bringing down vaccine costs for GAVI-eligible countries and for the market at large.
Through co-financing, GAVI-eligible countries have also demonstrated their commitment to immunisation and health systems strengthening.
Such innovations have already saved and transformed millions of lives. But we can, and want, to do much more.
The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development plays a key role in bringing together countries, international institutions and non-governmental organisations and promoting dialogue and actions about setting up innovative development financing mechanisms.
We have the vaccines, the demand is there, and the delivery systems are in place. As the GAVI Alliance and its partners embark on a “Decade of Vaccination”, we have an historic opportunity to make another great leap towards reducing child mortality.
We must keep up the momentum. Millions of lives can be saved.
Dr Julian Lob-Levyt
24 March 2010Printable version