The GAVI Alliance has issued a plea to save up to 6 million more lives. The group seeks $7.5 billion to help immunise another 300 million children against life-threatening diseases between 2016 and 2020.
The investments could double the total number of lives saved through GAVI-supported vaccines to an estimated 12 million, according to the group. They hope to get funded from global health philanthropists and the governments of developed nations.
According to the group's chairman, Dagfinn Hoybraten, they are faced with an historic opportunity to support countries to build sustainable immunisation programmes that will protect entire generations of children. The investments can ensure the equivalent of two children every second will be reached with GAVI-supported vaccines for five years and secure the future health and economic prosperity of all our children in years to come.
The GAVI Alliance (formerly the ‘Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation’) is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank, UNICEF, donor governments and others. They fund immunisation programs for poor nations that cannot afford to buy vaccines at rich-world prices. The GAVI Alliance targets common but deadly diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and cervical cancer. According to them, they have already saved around 6 million lives since its launch in 2000.
According to GAVI's chief executive, Seth Berkley, if the alliance were to achieve its target of an extra $7.5 billion is needed. It would be added to $2 billion already in hand for the 2016 to 2020 period. The funding is necessary because there are still around 1.5 million children who die each year of vaccine-preventable diseases. He further added that the economic benefits of fully funded, sustainable vaccine programmes in poorer countries would result in between $80 and $100 billion in gains.
The GAVI Alliance negotiates with esteemed pharmaceutical firms such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Pfizer to bring down vaccine prices for the poor. Besides, they partner to bulk-buy and deliver vaccines to the countries whose population needs it the most.
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