The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today congratulated the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) on its London conference in which public and private donors pledged $4.3 billion, which it said will save millions of lives.
“The generosity and commitment of the donors at today’s GAVI replenishment conference will benefit the lives of millions of the poorest and most vulnerable children around the world,” UNICEF said in a press release.
“The outcome of this pledging conference is exciting and tremendous news which will save millions of lives of the most threatened children around the world,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “And UNICEF renews its pledge to redouble our own efforts to help governments and other partners deliver vaccines to the hardest to reach children.”
The children’s agency said while 82 per cent of the world’s children receive vaccines, “one child in five, those most vulnerable to disease and living in the hardest to reach communities, lack access to these life-saving medicines.”
UNICEF, a founding member of GAVI, supplies nearly 60 per cent of the world’s children with vaccines. In 2010, UNICEF purchased on behalf of GAVI and developing countries around 2.53 billion doses of traditional and new vaccines worth $750 million.
Despite significant progress in reducing childhood mortality, nearly two million children still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, UNICEF said.
Launched in 2000, the GAVI Alliance is a global health partnership of private and public sectors comprised of, among others, developing world and donor governments, private sector philanthropists such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the financial community, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, research and technical institutes, civil society organizations and multilateral organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the World Bank.