Children’s lives at risk because of potential immunisation funding shortfall

  • Leading agencies, including World Vision, express concerns over the impact of a funding shortfall on world’s most poorest children
  • Donor countries have a chance to step up during the Gavi replenishment conference on 26 and 27 January in Berlin

Leading international aid agencies and campaigners are warning that the world’s largest partnership for child immunisation faces up to a $US 500 million funding shortfall for the next phase of its life-saving work, just one week before a crucial funding summit in Berlin.

Global leaders are considering their financial pledges to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, before travelling to Berlin for the meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 27th. The meeting is the first big test of the international community’s determination to make 2015 a breakthrough year in the fight to end extreme poverty and preventable child deaths.

Gavi has set out a plan for 2016-2020 which would save up to six million lives and immunise more than 300 million children against deadly diseases. If donors fall short of the $US 7.5 billion cost of the plan, Gavi would likely not be able to fully meet countries‘ demands for vaccines against conditions including rotavirus, HPV, measles-rubella and typhoid, and fail in its mission to expand immunisation to those children and communities currently excluded. This shortfall could result in hundreds of thousands of unecessary deaths and large economic and productivity losses, and set back the ambition to reach every child with immunisation.

Speaking together, leading agencies including ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership, Save the Children, ONE, Global Poverty Project, BRAC, WorldVision and the Gavi Civil Society Steering Committee – say:

“We are deeply concerned that in this crucial year for development, donors may fall at the first hurdle. This is not just another obscure political meeting – it’s about the world’s poorest children.

“Gavi is ranked as one of the most transparent and effective development mechanisms in the world. All donors say they support immunisation and want to see Gavi fully funded. Words won’t vaccinate a child – what’s needed now is cash.

“There is still time for leaders around the world step up to ensure a successful replenishment for Gavi and a healthy future for millions more children. Many of Gavi’s key donors, including Germany, United States, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have yet to finalize and announce their pledges. We urge each of them to prioritize Gavi and increase their commitment significantly. We hope others who have already made strong pledges, such as the European Commission and the UK do all that they can to fill the gap.

Campaigners also point to this meeting as an important marker for the ambition of the G7. “The Gavi replenishment will set the tone for Germany’s leadership of the G7; however maternal and child health needs to stay on the G7 agenda for the rest of 2015.“

Gavi was set up in 2000 as an innovative public-private partnership to transform immunisation in poor countries, and it has already saved 6 million lives. Despite global campaigning and the widely-expressed view that  investing in Gavi is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of saving lives, current donor projections suggest that the replenishment could fall at least half a billion dollars short of its fundraising target. 

Statement signed by: ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership, Save the Children, ONE, Global Poverty Project, BRAC, WorldVision and the Gavi Civil Society Steering Committee, RESULTS Canada, Global Health Advocates (France), CORE Group Partners Project (India), Health Education and Literacy Programme, Pakistan Civil Society Coalition Network for Health and Immunization, Asociación Mexicana de Vacunología, IMA World Health and American Cancer Society,  Alternative Santé Cameroon, CCAM Cameroon, PROVARESSC Cameroun.