Millennium Development Goals

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Helping achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, world leaders came together at the United Nations to set far-sighted goals for the health of children and mothers, gender equality and empowerment of women, literacy, the environment and a global partnership for development. These became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and laid a roadmap to a better world.

In the same year, the GAVI Alliance was established to address the urgent need to boost immunisation coverage. It was formed as an alliance in recognition that the distribution of new and underused vaccines to low-income countries was dependent on strong partnerships.

Its mission, to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries, recognised not only the priority of reducing child deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases, but also the power of vaccines to provide life-long protection against debilitating illness and disease.

Since 2000, GAVI has directly supported the immunisation of 390 million additional children, and prevented over five million future deaths in the world’s poorest countries.

The power of vaccines combined with a range of investments to strengthen systems that deliver immunisation and other services to women and children, provide health benefits which accrue to all the MDGs.

MDG 1: end poverty and hunger

Vaccines protect children from death and disability, enabling families to break out of a cycle of poverty and ill health.

  • Healthy children free families from the financial burden of medical care, allowing them to spend more on food and education.
  • Less time caring for sick children allows families to spend or save up to US $1 billion over a decade.
  • GAVI supports countries with a Gross National Income of less than US $1,500 per person, per year.

MDG 2: achieve universal primary education

Healthy, immunised children are better able to attend school and learn.

  • Protecting children from infectious diseases enables them to attend school more regularly.
  • Vaccination raises children’s IQ, improves their cognitive development, physical strength and educational achievements.

MDG 3: promote gender equality and empower women

In most countries, girls and boys have the same likelihood of being vaccinated.

  • GAVI’s gender policy recognises equal access as key to expanding vaccine coverage and making immunisation more equitable.
  • Healthy, immunised children frees women’s time for other activities.
  • GAVI has helped developing countries to save over 2 million women’s lives and immunised 180 million additional girls against preventable diseases. Now, GAVI is supporting two vaccines that directly benefit women’s health: HPV and rubella vaccines.

MDG 4: reduce child mortality

Globally under-five deaths have almost halved since 1990 to 6.6 million.

GAVI and its partners have contributed to the remarkable reduction in child mortality through improving access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries.

  • Immunisation is among the most successful and most cost-effective health interventions, saving an estimated two to three million lives every year1.
  • 83% of children in the world are now being reached by national immunisation programmes Immunisation is closer to universal coverage than most other health interventions.
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea kill between two to three million children each year. GAVI supports pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines against these leading child killers.

MDG 5: improve maternal health

Vaccines benefit women's health.

  • 275,000 women die each year from cervical cancer, over 85% in developing countries where it is a leading cancer killer of women. GAVI is supporting HPV vaccines that help prevent cervical cancer, along with rubella vaccines which help to protect pregnant women against an infection that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and severe birth defects in babies.
  • GAVI-supported maternal neonatal tetanus vaccines have helped to protect the lives of over 40 million women and their newborns.

MDG 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Vaccinating HIV-positive adults and children can help to protect them from pneumonia, diarrhoea and other diseases.

  • Vaccinating children also benefits the non-vaccinated by reducing disease transmission within the community.
  • This is especially important for HIV-positive people who are more vulnerable to pneumonia and other diseases.

MDG 7: ensure environmental sustainability

Pneumonia and diarrhoea are leading killers of children.

  • Tackling them requires an integrated approach to pneumonia and diarrhoea control.
  • Pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines can re-vitalise other pneumonia and diarrhoea control interventions including safe drinking water and sanitation, thereby saving many more lives.

MDG 8: develop a global partnership for development

GAVI is an innovative public-private partnership.

  • Brings together key partners in immunisation to distribute new and underused vaccines to the world’s poorest countries.
  • Uses innovative financing mechanisms to mobilise additional funds for health.
  • Shapes markets reducing vaccine prices by pooling demand and attracting new manufacturers, including those from emerging economies, to encourage healthy competition.
  • Strengthens health systems reducing bottlenecks in delivering vaccines and improving immunisation outcomes.
  • Maximises aid effectiveness channelling funds through national health plans and budgets, thus reducing transaction costs for countries.
  • Uses results-based financing supporting countries to increase immunisation coverage.

1: A Promise Renewed,2013

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