This is a year of opportunity. Not only will 2015 see the birth of a new development framework to ensure global sustainability, it will also be the year when the world’s nations help secure a better future for millions of children living in poverty.
Gavi Replenishment 2015
On January 26th and 27th, Germany will play host to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance as it holds its periodical conference to secure $7.5 billion in new funding to cover its work during the period 2016-2020, and to accelerate progress in ensuring that vaccines reach more children than ever before.
Vaccines are one of the best investments in public health and although it is the right of every child to be immunised, the reality is often very different. According to Gavi, an estimated 20 million children in Gavi-supported countries did not receive a full course of even the most basic vaccine in 2012. Access to more powerful vaccines is even worse: over 70 million children not immunised. In addition, only one percent of girls living in low- and middle income countries received a human papillomavirus vaccine – resulting in an estimated 32 million girls in risk of contracting cervical cancer.
Gavi Replenishment 2015: time for action is now
If we are to change this situation for good, we need to act decisively now. The $7.5 billion of funding that Gavi is seeking from international donors will accelerate the gains already achieved by the roll-out of vaccines by increasing the number of children that will be immunised over the next five years by 300 million. This single action would prevent an estimated five to six million deaths over this period if Gavi’s plan for scaled up immunisation is realised. And these are just the direct results. Investing in public health is also an investment in economic development. With fewer deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, families and communities would become stronger as health costs are reduced, more children are able to remain in school and complete their education, and opportunities for girls and mothers are improved. Added together, this could result in a $100 billion economic benefit to the world’s poorest countries – a tenfold return on investment.
Gavi Replenishment 2015: 6 million lives saved
These results are more than just aspirations, they can be achieved. Since its inception, Gavi has been delivering on its promises of saving lives through immunisation. To date, Gavi has helped over seventy of the world’s poorest counties immunise over 440 million children since the year 2000. This has meant that six million lives have been saved, and economic growth in these countries has increased.
Gavi is taking a long-term approach to immunisation and vaccination programmes. For the impact of vaccination on child health to be fully felt, national programmes need to be sustainable into the future. Countries in receipt of vaccines and of Gavi support are required to contribute to the cost of the vaccines they need, with their contributions becoming larger the more prosperous their economies grow. This model helps to ensure that immunisation programmes are continued long after Gavi’s financial support ends, locking in the successes for future generations.
Now that a better world is within our grasp, let’s work now on making it possible. We have to. The lives of millions of children are depending on us.