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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

update President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs