Photo: Andrew W. McGalliard
New York, US – A partnership between public and private sector, the GAVI Alliance, is was on track to meet its targets of supporting developing countries to immunize nearly 250 million children by 2015.
The organisation, in a statement obtained by PANA in New York on Tuesday, said that the immunization would help avert over four million deaths among children in developing countries.
Funded at a cost of US$ 7.4 billion, the GAVI Alliance stated that the four-year immunization programme was also on course to bridge the historic gap in access to immunization between low- and high-income countries.
It, however, noted that there were still pockets of regions around the world where access to immunization was still a major public health issue, but efforts were underway to engage governments and communities on the need to scale up immunization to protect children.
The statement quoted Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive officer of GAVI Alliance, as saying that close to 22 million children in India, Nigeria and Ethiopia were missing out on the primary routine vaccination programmes.
Mr. Berley said: “Vaccines are the most cost effective of all health interventions. Every child around the world as far as I am concerned should be vaccinated.”
“And today when we ask the question what percentage of children are fully vaccinated with all the 11 vaccines that WHO recommends for children, today only about 5 per cent of the world’s children have 11 of those vaccines.
“And we hope through this period and through the next period to increase that coverage so that children everywhere can be protected against these terrible diseases, and maximize their potential for life earning and productivity in their societies,” he stated.
The GAVI alliance is currently supporting childhood immunization programmes in at least 73 developing countries.
GAVI is funded by governments, namely Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, US.
Others are the European Commission, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as private and corporate partners, including Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and JP Morgan Chase, among others.