Statement by Helen Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Officer on the occasion of the launch of the State of the World's Vaccines and Immunization Report 2009
Geneva, 21 October 2009 - This new report shows the impressive progress in immunisation that has been achieved over the last decade, in great part thanks to the GAVI Alliance, which includes among its members WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation, as well as donor and developing country governments, private industry and civil society.
More than 200 million children have been immunised with vaccines funded by GAVI and over 3.4 million premature deaths have been averted.
This new report shows the impressive progress in immunisation that has been achieved over the last decade, in great part thanks to the GAVI Alliance.
Helen Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, GAVI
As a public-private partnership, GAVI has succsessfully implemented novel financing mechanisms that provide predictable sources of new funding for health.
Through its work, the Alliance has shaped the vaccine market, helping to reduce prices and increase healthy competition.
For example, GAVI's ongoing purchases of the combination DTP-Hepatitis B vaccine have prompted a significant price drop, which in just over two years produced US$ 27 million in savings and allowed us to immunise 12.7 million more children (source: GAVI Programme Delivery unit and UNICEF WAP, 2006 to 2008)
For low-income countries, investing in immunisation is one of the most cost-effective investments to their economic development and a vital way to help realise the right to health for millions of people. Cost-benefit analyses conducted in the United States shows that every dollar invested in a vaccine dose saves an average of US$14.50 -- and up to US$ 27 -- in health expenses.
Countries recognise this and their demand for existing vaccines has never been higher. And their request for new vaccines is growing rapidly.
For all of us who are concerned about saving and improving lives through immunisation, we are now presented with a significant opportunity.
For the first time in history, we have the commitment from countries and the tools and systems in place to maintain immunisation rates at current high levels and deliver new life-saving vaccines to protect millions of children against the world's biggest childhood killers.
Pneumonia and diarrhoea
These killers are pneumonia and diarrhoea. Together, they claim the lives of over three million children each year. New vaccines exist to combat these diseases and children in wealthy countries are routinely immunised.
Children in poor countries too often are not. For each child who dies from pneumonia in an industrialised country, more than 2,000 children die in developing countries. This is unjust.
With increased donor support, GAVI partners plan to change that by introducing the vaccine against pneumococcus, the bacterium that causes pneumonia, in 42 countries and the vaccine against rotavirus, which causes diarrhoea, in 44 countries by 2015.
The use of both vaccines could make a significant impact on the Millennium Development Goals and prevent more than 11 million child deaths by 2030.
Right to health
Children in poor countries have the same right to health, the same right to be immunised, as children in rich nations. Improved health is a fundamental driver for long term development. Therefore, we must remain focused on the cost-effective intervention of immunisation, particularly in the current economic climate.
Our success will rightly be judged by the number of additional lives saved and the long term benefits we foster.
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