More opportunities for increasing and sustaining immunisation coverage so every child has a healthy future
Outreach workers like Sister Sofia Benti (pictured centre) in the State of Afar – who staffs a new Government initiative to increase immunisation in herding communities – are finding ways to bring immunisation to every child in Ethiopia.
All GAVI partners are working together to ensure the immunisation of an additional quarter of a billion children, which will prevent close to four million future deaths in 2011-2015. But the Alliance is already looking to the future.
New vaccine investment strategy
In November 2013, the GAVI Alliance Board reviewed a new vaccine investment strategy and agreed to:
- Make available new support for additional yellow fever campaigns.
- Contribute towards a global cholera vaccine stockpile during 2014-2018 to increase access to oral cholera vaccine in outbreak situations and to further a learning agenda on the use of cholera vaccine in endemic settings.
- With regards to a malaria vaccine (still in development), the Board noted that based on the current assessment, there would be a reasonable case for GAVI to support the vaccine. The Board will consider this if and when the vaccine is licensed, WHO prequalified and recommended for use by the joint meeting of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and the Malaria Programme Advisory Committee (expected in 2015), taking into account updated projections of impact, cost and country demand.
- The Board concluded that further evidence is necessary on the impact and operational feasibility of supporting rabies and influenza vaccines for pregnant women. The Board agreed that GAVI will fund an observational study to address critical knowledge gaps around access to rabies vaccine and will monitor the evolving evidence base for maternal influenza vaccination in coming years.
Fully immunised child
The high-level panel report on the post-2015 development agenda underlined the value of vaccines and called for a target to increase the number of people fully immunised. GAVI is proposing that such an indicator measure the full course of the 11 antigens recommended by WHO for universal use. Preliminary estimates indicate that less than five percent of children globally are currently receiving all required doses of the 11 antigens. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach approximately 50%.
By contrast, if all countries in the world were to introduce all the recommended vaccines and take them to scale, while at the same time strengthening their routine immunisation systems, 9 out of 10 of all children could be fully immunised.
Data clerk Oscar Kai (blue shirt), carrying his laptop and a cooler of vaccines, heads to an outreach clinic by motorbike.
Since January 2011, GAVI has supported a record number of vaccine introductions and campaigns. But vaccine launches are only the start of the journey. As more and more countries are introducing powerful new vaccines, the challenge shifts to increasing and sustaining immunisation coverage and making it more equitable.
This means working together to secure adequate resources for immunisation and to develop supportive health systems and infrastructure. GAVI foresees increased use of technology to modernise and support supply chains and boost immunisation coverage.
Improving data quality, private sector
Other areas that GAVI will continue to invest in include improving data quality to better measure immunisation rates and building private sector approaches into GAVI operations.