Feature International Health

How should GAVI build on its success?

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5182 (Published 08 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5182
  1. Sophie Arie, freelance journalist
  1. 1London, UK
  1. mail{at}sophiearie.com

Immunisation programmes supported by GAVI have prevented more than five million deaths in a decade, but critics argue that the alliance could do more to bring prices down and help the most vulnerable countries. Sophie Arie reports

There are not many development organisations these days that can say they have raised the full amount of funding they need to meet their goals. But GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, is in that happy position only 10 years after it was created.

At GAVI’s first pledging conference in June this year, public and private donors pledged $4.3bn (£2.7bn; €3bn), bringing the alliance’s funds for 2011-15 to a total of $7.6bn. With that, the organisation says, it can achieve its aim of immunising more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children against life threatening diseases, thus preventing more than four million premature deaths by 2015.1

Geneva based GAVI, which brings together governments of developing and donor countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, major philanthropists, and the drug industry, has prevented more than five million deaths since it began work in 2000, according to its 2011 progress report.2

But can donors be sure that the money pledged will be spent in the best possible way? Could GAVI be vaccinating more children and saving even more lives if it did things differently?

Price concerns

Everyone agrees GAVI has made huge achievements and that vaccination is a highly efficient form of development aid. The knock on effects on the economies of recipient countries are huge in terms of children being able to attend school and become productive adults and their parents being able to work rather than care for sick and dying children.

The UK Department for International Development’s assessment of multilateral development organisations showed that GAVI was the best value in …

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