Ones they are convinced that a cause is righteous and worth pursuing, they will reunite and mobilize resources for it. Show them evidence and talk with passion as an internationalist, they will be your friends. This is one attitude I hope and pray to see in Africa someday where African leaders could unite and not just launch campaigns but raise financial resources and commit it to a cause be it health, education and economic development.
The Berlin Meeting of 27th January 2015 is another example of such commitment as World leaders made a record-breaking commitment to protect poorest children with vaccines. Their action has galvanized Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance on the path to immunize a further 300 million children and save up to 6 million more lives worldwide.
Chancellor Merkel was joined in the meeting by H.E. Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and H.E. Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali, Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ministers from more than 20 implementing and donor countries, civil society groups, CEOs of vaccine manufacturing companies, UN agencies and others who came together to secure commitments to fully fund Gavi-supported immunisation programmes in developing countries between 2016 and 2020.
The commitments was made in the Gavi Pledging Conference that day totalling US$ 7.5 billion, will enable countries to immunise an additional 300 million children, leading to 5 to 6 million premature deaths being averted and economic benefits of between US$ 80 and US$ 100 billion for developing countries through productivity gains and savings in treatment and transportation costs and caretaker wages.
In her statement Chancellor Merkel said: “There is a long way still to go but today’s conference is an important milestone in the work of Gavi for the next few years to come. Please let us not fail, let us not lose courage but continue to put all our efforts into this wonderful work and thank all of those who are committed to this goal.”
“Today is a great day for children in the world’s poorest countries who will now receive the life-saving vaccines they need,” said Bill Gates. “We believe in the next 15 years, poor people’s lives will improve faster than any other period in history and that access to vaccines provided by Gavi are critical to making that happen.”
The Gavi Pledging Conference, which was opened by Germany’s Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, saw unprecedented engagement from donors, with many deciding to double or even triple their commitments to support Gavi in what will be its highest period of financial need.
Iam thrilled to note that many countries were moved for the 1st time to also commit resources, nations such as China, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia made pledges to Gavi for the first time. China’s pledge means that all BRICS countries are now making financial contributions towards childhood immunisation through Gavi.
Developing countries are also increasing their financial contributions towards immunisation. Between 2016 and 2020, Gavi forecasts that implementing countries will allocate a combined total of around US$ 1.2 billion, which is additional to the funding provided by donors, towards their Gavi-supported programmes through the Alliance’s co-financing policy. This country ownership is vital to increasing the long-term sustainability of vaccine programmes.
“We are pleased to be working with Gavi to ensure our children – including those living in the most remote and inaccessible areas – are protected with modern, effective vaccines,” said President Keïta. “Thanks to today’s historic pledges, children in Mali and around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy future through the power of immunisation.”
The Chair of the Gavi Board Dagfinn Høybråten, had this to say “The commitments made today will ensure Gavi can make a telling contribution towards the global community’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.”
Vaccine manufacturers were not left behind in this important and historic event. Ahead of the conference, vaccine manufacturers committed to maintaining affordable vaccine prices, a move that will not only help Gavi buy more doses with the money secured but also increase the sustainability of vaccine programmes. Countries whose economic status means they are no longer eligible for Gavi support will still have access to many vaccines at the same price Gavi pays for a number of years. “Thanks to our donors, Gavi will be able to support developing countries to protect the lives of hundreds of millions of children,” said Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair of the Gavi Board.
The US$ 7.5 billion raised in the conference comes from a mix of pledges from 17 sovereign donors – for the first time almost all donors have made pledges for the full five-year funding period – the European Commission and private sector partners. Of the support from sovereign donors, US$ 252 million was committed to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm).
Additionally, Gavi announced in the conference that the Gavi Matching Fund, a fund that doubles private sector contributions and impact, will be renewed for the 2016-2020 period.
The US$ 7.5 billion pledged for Gavi’s replenishment will be combined with US$ 2 billion in already assured resources, including nearly US$ 1.2 billion from IFFIm, for the 2016-2020 period to enable Gavi to meet the US$ 9.5 billion cost of funding vaccine programmes in developing countries over the five year period.
We have a lot to learn from the world leaders’ passion and commitment as they unite against preventable childhood immunizable diseases.
1st published in Daily Trust Newspaper of 10th Feb 2015 by Dr Aminu Magashi Publisher Health Reporters (email@example.com)