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Achievements of GAVI

Summary

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is a public/private global health partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health through the widespread use of vaccines. The GAVI Alliance was launched in 1999 to improve access to immunization for children in impoverished countries. Childhood immunization is the best value in health care, providing tremendous benefit at very low cost. A child can be immunized fully for only US$ 30. In addition to their effectiveness and relatively low cost, immunizations are available. Routine immunization is a cornerstone of basic health care and an essential first step on the path to development. Increasing access to immunization is a proven and cost effective way to safeguard the health of children and families.

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Every child worldwide deserves access to life-saving vaccines. During the 1980s, worldwide immunization efforts saw a great deal of success, and developing countries made substantial progress toward their goals. By 1990, the increased coverage had caused a dramatic drop in the incidence of vaccine-preventable disease, saving the lives of millions of children each year. Despite this progress, between 1990 and 2000, immunization coverage declined in many developing countries as international actors shifted their attention and resources to other health priorities. This shift was exacerbated by armed conflicts, increased economic instability and natural disasters in many of the world’s poorest countries.
In response to mounting international concern of low vaccine coverage, the growing inequalities in immunization, and the unacceptable toll of infectious disease in developing countries, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was launched in 2000.
GAVI was formed with the mission of ensuring that every child in the world will be protected against vaccine preventable diseases. GAVI exists as a mechanism for coordinating and revitalizing immunization programs at international, regional and national levels. Immunization is the most cost-effective health measure. It is also an essential component in a nation’s efforts to boost economic development and reduce poverty.

GAVI is a worldwide partnership

Since immunization is a global issue, it requires a global solution. GAVI represents a historic alliance of public and private sector partners assembled into a worldwide network. These partners include the GAVI Fund, national governments, UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund), WHO (World Health Organization), The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine manufacturing industry, public health institutions and NGO’s (nongovernmental organizations). GAVI provides a forum for partners to agree upon mutual goals, share strategies, and coordinate efforts. The GAVI partnership is different from past immunization initiatives in a number of ways:

  • GAVI is an alliance of partners, not a new organization that might be seen as competitive or duplicative.
  • Each of the GAVI partners has made high level commitments to carry out the necessary work. They will not rely on the GAVI Secretariat to do that work for them.
  • The GAVI Fund adds significant resources to the alliance.
  • For the first time, vaccine manufacturers are full partners – with representatives on the GAVI Board and implementing groups.
  • The GAVI partners have the benefit of lessons learned from past immunization efforts.

By joining together in this alliance, GAVI partners saw a historic opportunity to use their collective strength to reverse the decline, and to make life-saving immunization available to every child, including those living in the harshest conditions, in the poorest nations.

Who is eligible for GAVI support?

The GAVI program maximizes the overall impact of the GAVI Fund resources by targeting the countries with the greatest need and the districts within those countries that have the most room for improvement. GAVI-eligible countries are those with a gross national income per capita of less than US$ 1000. Funds are allocated based on country-defined needs. Countries with immunization rates of less than 80% can apply for funding to build their health capacity and improve immunization services.
Countries are given flexibility and they can decide how best to use this funding to increase immunization rates. After an initial investment phase, future funding is dependent on the countries meeting their goals and showing results.
Other GAVI support is determined by the capacity of the countries. For example, while all GAVI-eligible countries within the yellow fever belt can apply for yellow fever vaccines and injection safety equipment, a country’s immunization rate must exceed 50% before it is eligible to receive hepatitis B and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccines.
In the countries receiving funding to help strengthen immunization services an additional 15.8 million children were immunized with combined diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) by December 2005. It is projected that approximately 28 million additional children will have been immunized with DTP3 by the end of 2006. GAVI provided financial support to 73 of 76 eligible countries.

The achievements of GAVI

In the first five years of its existence, GAVI has helped to increase significantly the number of children worldwide who have access to immunization. By the end of 2006 it was projected that:

  • approximately 28 million additional children have been protected against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP);
  • approximately 126 million additional children have been immunized against hepatitis B;
  • approximately 20 million additional children have been immunized against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib);
  • approximately 17 million additional children have been immunized against yellow fever;
  • more than 1.2 billion single-use syringes have been distributed to ensure safe vaccinations.

It is projected that more than 2.3 million premature deaths have been prevented through GAVI support by the end of 2006. Some of those deaths would have occurred in childhood and others (e.g., from hepatitis B) in the most productive adult years. GAVI is also having an impact on the vaccine manufacturing industry. By demonstrating to vaccine manufacturers that a profitable developing-country market exists, GAVI is increasing vaccine supply, reducing vaccine costs, and promoting long-run sustainability while advancing the development of new vaccines. Armed with substantial, predictable resources and the ability to negotiate long-term commitments, GAVI has generated a reliable demand for existing vaccines and has encouraged a number of new manufacturers to enter the market.

Source: Advances in Vaccinology - October 15th, 2012 (last updated)