The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that the U.S. Government will commit $1 billion to The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, in the 2015-2018 fiscal years to help vaccinate 300 million children worldwide.
A statement from USAID indicates that the amount announced is subject to congressional approval.
It further states that the U.S. contribution will support Gavi’s plan to immunize 300 million additional children and save at least 5 million lives by 2020.
If approved by the U.S. Congress, the US$1 billion will benefit Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa where Polio, whopping cough, diphtheria and tetanus have been affecting children with Ebola now taking center stage.
“Providing a new and underutilized vaccine to the world’s poorest countries is a key driver in ending preventable child deaths by 2035,” the statement notes.
Accordingly, USAID will be working closely with host country governments, Ministries of Health and Finance, and in-country and global Alliance partners, and will bring its financial, technical, and diplomatic efforts together to support country immunization programs to reach all children with critical, safe vaccines.
"GAVI represents a groundbreaking effort that has unified a global community of partners — from rural clinics to multinational corporations — in the fight to end the tragedy of preventable child death," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "In doing so, we are strengthening our own national security, economic prosperity, and moral leadership."
For the third year in a row in his State of the Union address, President Obama embraced the vision of eradicating extreme poverty. USAID’s support for vaccines and immunization is foundational to these efforts.
In June 2012, the world came together for the Child Survival Call to Action: A Promise Renewed, to craft a global goal to end preventable child deaths by 2035 and pioneer new approaches to accelerate progress towards child and maternal survival. In the last two years alone, 24 priority countries – of which 16 are in Africa – have achieved an eight percent reduction in under-five mortality, saving 500,000 lives.
Many of these lives were saved by simple, low-cost, high-impact health interventions like vaccines.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was created in 2000, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
Since then, GAVI has helped immunize nearly 500 million children; saving 7 million lives, driven down the costs of life-saving vaccinations, and has helped the poorest countries expand their vaccination programs, the statement said.