Civil Society – A key partner in ensuring access to vaccines for all

Originally appeared in RESULTS UK's blog.

As seen in this YouTube video from the GAVI Alliance, a number of vaccine experts and politicians travelled to Bangladesh last year to see the progress underway in delivering GAVI vaccines, and discussed the powerful role that civil society has to play.

The GAVI Alliance is exactly that, an alliance. This includes governments in the global north and south, large agencies such as UNCEF, WHO and the World Bank, the private sector, and civil society. This latter category can include non-governmental or community based organisations, professional, academic or technical bodies.

In this video, some powerful vaccine advocates can be seen talking about the role Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) can, and must, play. This includes Dr Sabrina Bakeera Kitaka, who joined RESULTS in the UK earlier this year during World Immunisation Week.

Dr. Sabrina Kitaka speaks about immunizations to members of British Parliament
Sabrina speaking with MPs and Peers during a Parliamentary roundtable

CSOs play a major role in immunization around the world and in the activities of the GAVI Alliance. They deliver a high proportion of rural health care, including vaccines, in countries with the greatest challenges.

Such organisations are often able to reach communities the health system otherwise could not. They can also increase knowledge of the benefits of vaccines and encourage communities to demand these life-saving interventions.

Furthermore, CSOs provide a strong advocacy voice for the changes needed to maximise vaccines’ potential to save lives and create prosperity.

This year RESULTS has been engaged with this constituency of organisations working on vaccines, trying to form a stronger and more coherent advocacy voice. There remains some vital objectives to be achieved in this Decade of Vaccines. This ranges from ensuring equity of access, fair and sustainable financing, investment in research and development for new vaccines for diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and also having in place functioning health systems that can deliver these life-saving interventions.

For more information on how you or your CSO can become involved with the GAVI Alliance, please see the GAVI CSO Constituency website