Ahead of a June meeting of G8 leaders in London, UK, Save the Children is challenging member nations to ensure that no more impoverished children die of diseases that are easily preventable if only those children could be immunized in time.
Save the Children predicts that 4 million lives could be saved by 2015 if governments attending the vaccinations summit on June 13 pledge to fund an immunization drive led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI).
GAVI estimates US$ 3.7 billion will be needed to scale-up immunization programs between 2011 and 2015.
Over the last decade, millions of children have been immunized — protection that is estimated to save around two and half million children every year.
But more children could be saved if only the so-called immunization gap was closed.
Full GAVI funding would also enable the Alliance to immunise an additional 243 million children in the poorest countries with vaccines against pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, and yellow fever, and ensure the complete roll-out of pentavalent vaccine. GAVI also aims to introduce new vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer in women, meningitis serogroup A, rubella, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis. In addition to its vaccine portfolio, GAVI provides support to country health systems to effectively deliver immunization.
GAVI has proven that it can achieve these results. Thanks to strong donor support, the GAVI Alliance has committed US$4 billion to country-led initiatives in the world’s poorest regions over the last decade. This enabled the Alliance to reach 288 million children with vaccines and save more than five million lives in its first decade of operations.
Investments in immunisation are among the best value for money in global health. Immunisation is a highly-cost-effective foundation for strong communities and economies. For every premature death averted as a result of childhood immunisation, millions more are protected from common but preventable diseases enabling them to lead healthy and productive lives.
Realistically, immunization isn’t a golden cure for all the ills extreme poverty creates. What the program can be is one tool in ensuring that no more children die from a disease that can be guarded against.
While G8 leaders have expressed support for GAVI through the process leading up to the June vaccinations forum, they may yet try and strike a compromise on the amount of money they provide.
When it comes to the health of children in some of the poorest places on Earth, there can be no compromise though.
Join Save the Children in asking World Leaders to support the GAVI program. Sign the petition below.
TAKE ACTION: SUPPORT VACCINES FOR ALL!