African business leaders and the GAVI Alliance discuss partnering up

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CEO breakfast at WEF Africa puts spotlight on role of private sector partnerships in vaccinating children in Africa

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Credit: GAVI/2013/Evelyn Hockstein.

Abuja, Nigeria, 9 May 2014 – Africa’s leading CEOs met with the GAVI Alliance at a WEF Africa roundtable on Friday to explore ways in which private sector skills can help achieve a continent free of vaccine-preventable disease.

The meeting brought together private sector leaders in banking, infrastructure, logistics, telecommunications and technology - each committed to collaborating with the Alliance to remove obstacles to immunisation.

"The private sector has the capital, enterprise and innovation to have a positive and transformative impact on the public health sector," said host Tony Elumelu, Nigerian businessman and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation."

"As a businessman, I know how important it is to have a healthy workforce and that there is a correlation between the health of our children and the progress of our future economies. As a father of five girls, I know that every child is precious and deserves a shot at life."

Partnering makes sense

"Money is important, but skills and know-how are equally critical,” said GAVI Alliance CEO Dr. Seth Berkley. “GAVI knows that the private sector has significant skills and know-how to contribute to the challenges we face in getting vaccines out to all kids in Africa. So partnering up makes a lot of sense to us."

Rotimi Pedro, CEO, highlighted Bloomberg TV Africa’s commitment to spreading the word about "the importance of immunising all our kids" while Joseph Hudson, CEO of Lafarge Cement in Nigeria, said partnering with the GAVI Alliance was a "no-brainer."

Ralph Ozoude, President of UPS Nigeria, added that "we are working to deliver other critical health commodities and are available."

Private sector skills

African business leaders and the GAVI Alliance discuss partnering uṕ

Armando Indroga, Minister for Industry and Trade of Mozambique; Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO The GAVI Alliance; Tony Elumelu, founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation; David Ferreira, former managing director Innovative Finance – GAVI Alliance; Arunma Oteh, Director General Securities & Exchange Commission.
Credit: Benedikt von Loebell.

The GAVI Alliance has long been focused on collaborating with the private sector to help overcome operational challenges to immunisation, such as poor data quality, disruptions to the supply chain, poor equipment maintenance, and inadequate cold chain storage and in bringing best practice into the vaccine space.

The ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation has, for example, supported the GAVI Alliance to establish a Supply Chain Fund that will help immunise children in areas where poor transportation, inadequate or non-existent refrigeration, and weak stock management prevent delivery of vaccines.

In Mozambique, the government and the GAVI Alliance have partnered with Vodafone to launch an “mVaccination” project designed to improve vaccine stock management, data quality, and communication with parents.

Armando Indroga, the Minister for Industry and Trade of Mozambique, addressed Friday’s roundtable about the importance of this project and other public-private partnerships in helping the government to reach all its citizens with healthcare.

The GAVI Matching Fund

Dr. Berkley and Mark Suzman, President, Global Policy & Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both spoke about the GAVI Matching Fund, which has raised more than US$ 162 million for children’s immunisation and provided critical business expertise to promote life-saving vaccine programs in the developing world. The initiative includes a 100% match by the UK Government and the Gates Foundation for donations to the GAVI Alliance from companies, foundations, their customers, employees and business partners.

To date, the largest donation to the GAVI Alliance by citizens of a GAVI-funded country is from the A&A Foundation. This contribution of US$ 1.5 million has been doubled to US$ 3 million under the GAVI Matching Fund, with the funds used to purchase life-saving vaccines for children in Angola – the donor’s home country — and Ethiopia.

Nigerian government representation

The Nigerian government was represented at the roundtable by Health Minister Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu and by Securities & Exchange Commission Director General Arunma Oteh, a former board member of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), which supports the GAVI Alliance by floating vaccine bonds in the capital markets.

"I cannot imagine a world without GAVI," said Minister Chukwu. “GAVI has been very effective in Nigeria.”

Ms. Oteh said she could personally bear witness to GAVI’s willingness and ability to partner with the private sector. "GAVI is one of the organisations I am most proud to have been associated with," said Ms. Oteh.

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