Honduras tackles leading killer of children

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Pneumococcal vaccines introduced in seventh GAVI-eligible country

Geneva, 5 April 2011 - Major progress against pneumonia was delivered last Friday when Honduras began providing vaccines aimed at preventing the biggest causes of the disease as part of its routine immunisation programme.

Congratulations to the government of Honduras for its commitment to providing these life saving vaccines to the children who desperately need them.

Helen Evans, Interim CEO, GAVI Alliance

"This is very good news for the children of Honduras. Congratulations to the government of Honduras for its commitment to providing these life saving vaccines to the children who desperately need them," said Helen Evans, GAVI interim CEO.

The vaccines protect children from pneumococcal disease, the most common and serious form of respiratory infections. The disease takes the lives of over a million people every year - including more than 500,000 children before their fifth birthday. It is the leading cause of pneumonia, which kills more babies and small children than any other illness in the world.

Since December 2010, the governments of Nicaragua, Guyana, Yemen, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mali and The Democratic Republic of Congo have introduced the vaccines with GAVI support.

In Latin America, GAVI has been working closely with national governments, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and UNICEF to introduce the pneumococcal vaccines in Latin America.

Nineteen countries will introduce the vaccines by 2012 thanks to GAVI support. And the Alliance hopes that donors will provide sufficient funding to allow it to introduce the vaccines in more than 40 countries by 2015.

GAVI needs an additional US$ 3.7 billion over the next five years to continue its support for immunisation in the world's poorest countries and introduce new and underused vaccines including the pneumococcal vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine which tackles diarrhoea - the second biggest killer of children under five.

The roll-out of the pneumococcal vaccines has been made possible through an innovative finance mechanism pioneered by GAVI called the Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

With US$ 1.5 billion from Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Russian Federation, Norway, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a commitment of US$ 1.3 billion from GAVI, the AMC has accelerated the production of suitable and affordable pneumococcal vaccines for developing countries.

Partnerships key to immunisation success

Honduras has achieved what many other countries only aspire to: a near-perfect DTP3 vaccination coverage rate of 98%. In 2010, it reported zero cases of diphtheria, Hib meningitis, measles, polio and rubella.

It takes all stakeholders working in concert to achieve this level of success.

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Honduras story

Pneumococcal vaccine global launch

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