Originally appeared as GAVI one year on: RESULTS UK applauds immunization’s potential to reduce poverty and urges greater efforts to reach the final 20 per cent of children left unvaccinated
One year ago today, on 13 June 2011, international donors pledged to invest $4.3 billion to immunise 250 million children and save an estimated 3.9 million lives. At the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) pledging conference last year, the total pledged surpassed even GAVI’s own target of $3.7 billion. The UK Government more than doubled its contribution since the last pledging conference to £814 million over the period 2011-15.
Vaccines provide a proven, cost effective intervention for saving the lives of children everywhere, particularly the world’s poorest children. In a time of financial austerity and with international aid spending coming under increased scrutiny, the GAVI Alliance is a clear example of good aid in action.
RESULTS’ Executive Director Aaron Oxley said: “Over the past year we have seen an emboldened GAVI Alliance roll out more vaccines to those who need them most, including new vaccines against two of the leading child killers - pneumonia and diarrhoea. The true impact of the UK’s leadership in supporting GAVI becomes most clear when you realise that every two minutes, for the next five years, the UK taxpayer will save the life of a child from a vaccine preventable disease.”
“Even with this encouraging progress there is still much work to be done in ensuring every child’s right to receive life-protecting vaccines is realised. In 2010, almost one in five children - nearly 20 million - did not receive the most basic vaccinations. Reaching the unimmunised is essential if we are to meet the Millennium Development Goal of dramatically cutting the under-five mortality rate.”
RESULTS urges the GAVI Alliance and donor governments to put equity front and centre of immunisation strategies in the next decade. By expanding coverage without addressing inequalities, gaps will be exacerbated. An equity-focused approach between and within countries that addresses both demand- and supply-side barriers to immunisation is essential to ensure we reach the 20% of children left unvaccinated today.
Furthermore, weaknesses in health systems and unsuitable methods of vaccine delivery for low-resource settings provide obstacles to increasing coverage. It is therefore vital that health systems are strengthened in countries with high burdens of vaccine preventable diseases and that improved, affordable and more suitable presentations for country needs are developed.
RESULTS UK is a non‐profit advocacy organisation that aims to generate the public and political will to end hunger and poverty. RESULTS’ focus is on educating and empowering people - be they ordinary citizens or key decision‐makers - to bring about policy changes that will improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. Our advocacy focuses on areas we believe have the most potential to make a difference. We have a track record of expertise and success in education, microfinance, health and child survival.