Alison Root is ACTION's Senior Associate for Child Health and Vaccines.
Over the last two and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most passionate child health advocates in the world. Across our ten partner countries, ACTION partners have worked tirelessly to mobilize resources and shape policies to end preventable child deaths.
In June 2011, ACTION’s donor country partners in the UK, US, Australia, EU, France, Canada and Japan successfully mobilized nearly $US 4 billion in assured resources for the GAVI Alliance; total funding mobilized at the 2011 replenishment conference enabled GAVI to commit to averting nearly 4 million future deaths and immunizing a quarter billion additional children.
Frequently cited as the most cost-effective health intervention, childhood vaccines are incredible. After decades of progress leading to the near elimination of some diseases such as polio, newer vaccines are now tackling the remaining pieces of the child mortality pie. Vaccines to prevent pneumonia and severe diarrhea – the two leading killers of children – are now being rolled out with GAVI support.
As advocates, we ask ourselves, “now what”? With incredible signals of donor support in 2011 despite the global financial crisis, ACTION partners couldn’t just pat themselves on the back and call it a day – sustained and intensified advocacy has been necessary to ensure pledges and promises made in June 2011 have been converted into appropriations and budget lines. Increased advocacy to ensure GAVI is utilizing its resources for maximum impact, including reaching the unreached, also remains at the core of ACTION’s work.
Today, the ACTION partnership launched a tool to remind donors, advocates, and GAVI partners that our work is not done. Our Donor Immunization Record found that while most donors are on track, many – such as Australia and France – are still “in progress” to deliver on their pledges. Persistent advocacy remains necessary to ensure some donor countries, such as the US, find budgetary space in annual appropriations cycles to fulfill their pledges. Other donors, while committing funding to GAVI for some years of the 2011-2015 strategy window, have not pledged fully to 2015, which is a necessary indicator of long-term support.
Advocacy to ensure funding is delivered and support is extended will be critical to achieving GAVI’s goals in this period, and to overcoming the challenges faced to date. Sustainable funding from donors and GAVI-eligible country governments is only one piece of the puzzle. Whether it is the remaining countries who have not applied for new vaccine support from GAVI, the manufacturers who are working to produce a steady supply of vaccines at an affordable price, or the donors who have yet to finalize their pledges, ACTION is keeping a watching eye – and so should you.
Join ACTION to see what you can do to ensure your country is living up to its promise to end preventable child deaths.