Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Health: United States Pledges Multi-Year Contribution to Reduce Immunization Cost; Save More Children's Lives

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), released the following statement to announce an increased U.S. commitment to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).

"I am pleased to announce that the United States will continue one of the best, most cost-effective life-saving investments we have ever made.

Over the next 3 years, subject to congressional approval, we will devote $450 million to GAVI's mission, which seizes upon the opportunity to save four million lives by 2015. The United States' coordinated support for GAVI complements the efforts of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and USAID in the research, development and use of vaccines.

This multi-year commitment leverages the billions of dollars that other donors have committed to GAVI, multiplying the impact of our funding more than eight-fold.

At a time when budgets around the world are being scrutinized, this partnership with donor and host country governments, civil society and private sector partners ensures our development dollars have the greatest impact. Not only is our commitment inspiring the generosity of other donors, it helps ensure the quantities of vaccine needed to obtain lower prices, allowing us to save even more lives.

For example, our pledge has allowed GAVI to negotiate a price reduction of 67% on rotavirus vaccines so children in poor countries can be protected against this cause of diarrheal disease.

Combined with other donors, our funding will enable the Alliance to immunize an additional 243 million children in the poorest countries with vaccines against pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, meningitis A, and yellow fever, and ensure the complete roll-out of pentavalent vaccine. It also strengthens mechanisms to assure that we can save more lives by having lower cost tools available like future vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

In addition, within the next year, the U.S. Government will host a high-level conference to assess progress against achieving impact based on the immunization pledges made here today.

As Secretary Clinton has said: 'Poor health undermines social stability and ultimately threatens our country's own national security.' Our commitment to GAVI will prevent millions of children from an unnecessary death, and will increase global stability and strengthen our national security."

SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development