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An Introduction to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Flickr: UNAMID

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Global Context

As the new millienium was ushered in 14 years ago, vaccines rates were plummeting. Even though immunization is one of the most cost-effective means to address global health threats, its importance was being overlooked. 

UNICEF Ethiopia

And so, the universal political climate required a dynamic new means to bring vaccines to the forefront. This call was answered by the establishment of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in 2000, bringing together donor governments, developing countries, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, civil society, and the private sector. This diverse unity worked together to help shape the vaccine market for the modern era.

Operational Response

Gavi’s key goal is to increase the access people living in poor countries have to immunisation, directly resulting in saving lives and protecting children’s health.

United Kingdom Department of International Development
To do this, they needed to reduce the price of vaccines paid by poor countries, achieved by pooling demand and creating new markets, and by encouraging participation by manufacturers from developing countries themselves, increasing competition. Furthermore, rich and poor countries alike help pay for the vaccines, with approximately 10% of Gavi's total funding committed from Norway. With such co-operation, Gavi established not just an effective model, but one which is sustainable. All 73 Gavi-eligible countries have rolled out the 5 in 1 pentavalent vaccine, the last country to do so being South Sudan.  

Incredible Results

As a result, in less than 15 years, the Gavi has helped vaccinate almost half a billion additional children, saving an astonishing six million lives. Between 2000 and 2012 there was a 78% decrease in measles deaths globally - thanks to Gavi vaccination efforts.

United Kingdom Department of International Development

The implications have spread across the entire poverty alleviation spectrum, with more human capital resulting in direct economic benefits. Furthermore, better health leads to better education, and coupled together this leads to more self-sufficient economies emerging in the global south.

Still though, 22 million children across the world do not have access to basic vaccines.

Despite this Gavi has broken new ground in the fight against deadly diseases such as the two leading killers of young children - pneumococcal and rotavirus disease. These two diseases are the leading vaccine-preventable causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea and account for nearly 1/3 of child deaths. Proving its merits almost half a billion times in 15 years. Looking forward, with the continued support of its contributors, the Gavi is on track to not only significantly increase its fight against deadly diseases, but playing a major role in the alleviation of extreme poverty by 2030.


Zubin Malhotra