GAVI Alliance welcomes US$ 75 million contribution from the United States

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GAVI Alliance CEO thanks the United States government for a US$ 75 million contribution

Washington DC, 23 March 2009 - GAVI Alliance Chief Executive Officer Dr Julian Lob-Levyt thanks the United States government for a US$ 75 million contribution - its highest ever - to support the Alliance's work to immunise children and strengthen health systems in the world's poorest countries.

US President Barack Obama signed into law this month an omnibus appropriations bill passed by the US Congress that includes the contribution to support the work of the GAVI Alliance for fiscal year 2009.

The new contribution, which will be administered through the US Agency for International Development, a close GAVI partner and Board member, is the highest ever from the United States Government. US support to GAVI in FY 2008 amounted to $71.9 million.

As the deepening financial crisis forces donors to make tough choices, the priority must be to improve the health of the world's poor, particularly children.

Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI CEO

"As the deepening financial crisis forces donors to make tough choices, the priority must be to improve the health of the world's poor, particularly children," said Dr Lob-Levyt. "We greatly appreciate the commitment of the US Congress and President Obama to increase support to GAVI."

A donor since GAVI's inception
The United States has been an active member of the GAVI Alliance and a donor each year since its inception in 2000, contributing a total of approximately US$ 500 million.

GAVI is also supported by 15 other donor governments and the European Commission, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the La Caixa Foundation and other private donors.

Over the last nine years, GAVI has had remarkable success in creating and implementing new methods of development assistance for health. Country ownership of immunisation programmes, innovative financing and the ability to create country demand while influencing product development and lower prices from the vaccine industry are all core elements of the GAVI model.

The result has been the immunisation of more than 200 million children in 72 countries against as many as five common but life-threatening diseases. More than three million premature deaths have been averted thanks to GAVI-funded programmes.

"During this crisis, we remain committed to childhood health and the life-saving role that immunisation plays yet more than nine million children still die each year in the developing world. One quarter of these deaths could be prevented through immunisation, which is one of the most cost-effective investments to decrease poverty and prevent longer term economic and social costs," said Dr Lob-Levyt.

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