Spain first to back new immunisation push

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29 million Euro donation will help accelerate vaccination efforts in 72 of the world's poorest countries

Madrid/Geneva, 12 May 2009 - A major new effort to boost immunisation in the world's poorest countries has attracted its first direct donation of 29 million Euros from the Spanish government, the GAVI Alliance announced at a high level meeting in Madrid.

GAVI's CEO Dr Julian Lob-Levyt met with the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, and the new Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Elena Madrazo Hegewisch, to discuss future cooperation between the government and GAVI. Also invited to this meeting were Civil Society Organisations and the La Caixa Foundation, represented by Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Cristina. The Spanish Presidency of EU coincides with the Spanish government becoming a Board member of the GAVI Alliance in 2010.

We applaud the Spanish government's reaffirmed commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of the GAVI Alliance

Accelerate vaccination programmes

In response to increasing demand from developing countries, GAVI has set out to raise US$ 500 million a year from 2009 through 2015 to accelerate vaccination programmes in 72 developing countries and avert hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.

"We applaud the Spanish government's reaffirmed commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," Dr Lob-Levyt said. "Their significant donation helps launch our increased efforts to protect even more women and children against disease and save more lives."

Over the next six years, the Alliance aims to expand its support to developing countries for vaccines against for example typhoid, rubella and Japanese Encephalitis.

Save children's lives

"We strongly support GAVI's mission to save children's lives and protect poor people's health," the Secretary of State, Soraya Rodriguez said.

"This commitment is key to reach the MDGs, especially MDG 4 which aims to reduce child mortality by two thirds. Any progress we make in improving health in developing countries will be reflected in those countries' economic prospects. In times of crisis it is even more important to invest in social sectors like health."

Every year 24 million children miss out on immunisation against the most common childhood diseases. As a result, between two and three million girls and boys die every year of diseases which are easily preventable. Many more fall ill and lose school time.

IFFIm

Since 2006, Spain has supported GAVI through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), pledging nearly 190 million Euros over 20 years. The IFFIm raises money on the capital markets to finance immunisation and health system strengthening in poor countries through the GAVI Alliance.

The new 29 million Euro donation represents Spain's commitment to GAVI's direct funding platform, which is crucial for GAVI's core business of meeting developing countries' demand for immunisation and shifting to multi-year funding commitments.

Model country

GAVI considers Spain as a "model" country because both its public and private sectors support GAVI's immunisation programmes.

In addition to the government's support, the Alliance is also funded by La Caixa Foundation, with an initial contribution of four million Euros to GAVI in 2008. La Caixa, Spain's largest savings bank, and their Foundation, also launched the Business Alliance for Child Vaccination, an initiative which calls on Spanish companies to take up the global health challenge.

"It is paramount for GAVI to provide predictable funding for immunisation and other health interventions because developing countries need to be able to plan ahead," Dr Lob-Levyt said. "Donors like Spain understand this and have been extremely conducive in providing the necessary long-term support to boost immunisation rates in the world's poorest countries."

 

The GAVI Alliance is a Geneva-based public-private partnership aimed at improving health in the world's poorest countries. The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

GAVI support consists of providing life-saving vaccines and strengthening health systems. Since 2000, 213 million children have been vaccinated and 3.4 million premature deaths averted thanks to GAVI-funded programmes. GAVI has also been recognised for developing innovative financing mechanisms like the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) and the Advance Market Commitments. For more information, please visit: www.gavialliance.org 

The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation through the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, and as such responsible for the Spanish politics of international cooperation for development. The objective is to support, manage and implement the official politics of international cooperation, related to the fight against poverty and the achievement of sustainable human development in developing countries.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aecid.es/web/es/ 

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