GAVI Alliance High-Level Meeting on Financing Country Demand will take place from 25-26 March 2010 in The Hague, Netherlands

GAVI Alliance High-Level Meeting on Financing Country Demand will take place from 25-26 March 2010 in The Hague, Netherlands

Geneva, 22 March 2010 - The GAVI Alliance will unveil a plan later this week to save more than four million lives in the next five years by increasing access to immunisation in the world's poorest countries.

Investing in immunisation through the GAVI Alliance: The evidence base

Download as PDF (3029K)At an unprecedented High-level Meeting on Financing Country Demand in The Hague next week (25-26 March), GAVI will explain to its partners, donors and some potential donors, that it needs US$ 4.3 billion to achieve its goal by 2015.

New evidence

GAVI will present new evidence showing that investing in vaccines is one of the most cost-effective health interventions donors can make. With immunisation coverage rates now around 80% in many of the world's poorest countries, GAVI argues that no other public health programme has the capacity to reach more children.

Investing in Immunisation through the GAVI Alliance: the evidence base, a publication produced for the meeting, also documents GAVI's remarkable results since it was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2000. Between 2000-2009, GAVI-funded immunisation programmes reached more than 250 million children helping to avert 5.4 million premature deaths, according to World Health Organization figures.

Biggest child killers

If it is able to secure the US$ 4.3 billion, GAVI projects it can save the lives of 4.2 million children in developing countries, preventing deaths from diseases such as hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Haemophilus influenzae type b, but mainly from pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea which are among the biggest child killers of children in developing countries.

Vaccines against pneumococcal bacteria, a leading cause of pneumonia and meningitis, and against rotavirus, which causes some of the most severe cases of diarrhoea, are already saving lives in several countries and are desperately needed in poor countries where such illnesses are often fatal or, in the case of meningitis, can cause permanent physical and mental disabilities in victims who survive. Rotavirus is so highly communicable that virtually every unvaccinated child on the planet contracts it, so not even improvements in sanitation can avoid infection.

Essential building block

As well as saving lives, vaccination ensures more children will be healthy, reducing healthcare costs and improving potential for education and higher productivity. While GAVI and experts from the developing world will present the strong moral argument for investing in life-saving vaccines at next week's meeting, they will also make the compelling case that investment in health has proven to be an essential building block for socio-economic development.

GAVI's request for increased funding is based on demand. Recognising the impact that vaccines can have on health and development, governments of low-income countries in recent years are demanding new vaccines and increased support for their vaccine programmes.

Global immunisation rates, which slowed during the 1990s, have been climbing again since the establishment of GAVI in 2000. More children than ever are now being vaccinated - a record of 106 million in 2008.

For more information, please contact:

Jeffrey Rowland
GAVI Alliance
Mobile: +41 79 240 4559
Office: +41 22 909 7165

Dan Thomas
GAVI Alliance
Mobile: +41 79 251 8581
Office: +41 22 909 6524

Kerstin Reisdorf
GAVI Alliance
Office: +41 22 909 2920
Mobile: +41 79 250 2398

Ariane Leroy
GAVI Alliance
Office: +41 22 909 6521
Office: +41 79 340 1878

Photo and video requests:
Sandra Scolari
Office: +41 22 909 6528
Mobile: +41 79 251 8583