Vaccines are transforming the health of people and communities across Africa. Every year, millions of lives are saved.
Gavi is a global Vaccine Alliance. It is unique in that it brings together public and private organizations with a shared goal of making vaccines more available, accessible, and affordable for children who need them the most.
Since it began in 2000, Gavi has helped the poorest countries to immunise 700 million children, averting 10 million future deaths that would otherwise be lost to vaccine-preventable diseases. This is incredible, and the benefits reach far and wide.
Vaccinations keep children healthy, and reduce the burden of care on parents; improving their productivity and freeing them from crippling medical costs. Children who are protected from disease live longer and, later in life, work longer, earning more for their families and communities. And, fewer disease outbreaks mean less disruption to trade, benefiting national economies.
Looking to the future
Gavi recently brought together over 300 global health leaders, including governments, civil society organizations, and private sector partners (UAE, 10-11 December). It was a time to celebrate the millions of lives saved so far, and look to the future.
There are a number of challenges ahead. Not least, reaching children in isolated rural communities, urban slums and conflict areas. Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, summed it up: “Vaccines don’t deliver themselves. Expanding health systems to deliver immunisation in low coverage areas builds the base of the primary health system…”
But, we have good reason to be hopeful. During the meeting partners recommitted to the fight – South Korea promised US$15 million over the next three years and Germany pledged to explore technology to improve immunisation programmes by tracking funds and vaccines. New alliances were formed, including with Mastercard who will use their expertise to help set-up digital immunisation records. And with Parsyl, to monitor the quality of vaccines – many of which become useless if not kept at a constant temperature.
Gavi is well on the way to making vaccines more affordable and available, enabling many of the world’s poorest countries to sustainably provide better healthcare. Saving millions more lives.