News / Health

GAVI on Track to Immunize One-Quarter Billion Children by 2015

FILE - GAVI chief Seth Berkley inoculates a child with a Rotavirus vaccine at the in the village of Nkyenoa, Ghana, April 27, 2012.
FILE - GAVI chief Seth Berkley inoculates a child with a Rotavirus vaccine at the in the village of Nkyenoa, Ghana, April 27, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The GAVI alliance - a public-private global health partnership previously known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization - has announced it is on track to immunize a quarter of a billion children against killer diseases by 2015.  The organization said nearly four million children’s lives will be saved thanks to these additional vaccinations.

GAVI said it is reaching record numbers of children with life-saving vaccines.  It said more countries than ever are introducing new vaccines, averting many deaths and improving the health and wellbeing of millions of people.  
 
Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest child killers in the world.  The price of the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, which protect against these illnesses, has gone down dramatically, making them affordable for children in developing countries. 
 
GAVI introduced pentavalent vaccines in 2001 with the aim of reaching all 73 GAVI-eligible countries by 2014.  These vaccines offer protection against five diseases - diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis, and haemophilus influenzae type b.
 
GAVI chief executive officer Seth Berkley said the widespread use of these vaccines in the poorer countries is an essential step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the under-5 mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015.  He said pentavalent vaccines now are available in 72 of the 73 GAVI countries.
 
“The last country which will have this vaccine rolled out is Southern Sudan, which will be rolled out in the first quarter of next year.  Of course, Southern Sudan was not a country when GAVI began the roll-out of this vaccine, so this vaccine is now becoming the normal vaccine in the world and that is, for us, a big deal,”  said Berkley.

Closing the rich-poor gap

GAVI’s progress report also finds the immunization gap between rich and poor countries is closing.   For example, it noted in the Kilifi district of Kenya, the number of cases of pneumococcal disease has gone down from 38 to zero cases in the three years since the launch of the PCV (pneumococcal) vaccine.  It said similar effects have been obtained with the meningitis and haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines.
 
Despite these successes, Dr. Berkley said challenges remain in a number of fragile countries.  For example, he tells VOA some 22 million children are not being fully immunized against diptheria, pertussis and tetanus.  The largest number is in India, followed by Nigeria and Ethiopia. 
 
In these fragile countries, he said it is important to improve the reliability of supply chains, improve in-country data collection, and adopt tailored approaches toward immunization.
 
“So, instead of having the same mechanism for every country, we work with different countries in different ways. So, Afghanistan, for example, has made a decision that it would use non-governmental organizations to do most of its distribution.  So, the government then contracts out the work that GAVI does in the supply of vaccines…But, our goal at the end is to try and work with each country and help them.  During the recent disturbances in Mali, for example, we worked very hard to make sure that vaccines kept going during that period, and we were able to do that,” said Berkley. 
 
Berkley added that vaccines are widely recognized as one of the most-cost effective public health tools, providing the best possible protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.  He said that means every child must have access to all 11 of the vaccines the World Health Organization recommends.
 
GAVI said it will cost the agency $7.6 billion to immunize an additional quarter of a billion children by 2015.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs