“Medicine is a tool to allow me to do more interesting things”

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 19 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2067
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

    With ambitious plans to introduce rotavirus vaccine into 44 countries, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation is now seeking new donors from east Asia. Anne Gulland reports

    Foreign aid may not be a touchstone election issue, but it is telling that in these days of financial austerity none of the parties are calling for aid budgets to be slashed. To Julian Lob-Levyt, chief executive of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), this is a sign of how much the thinking on foreign aid—both among politicians and society—has shifted in the past 10 years or so.

    “I think there is a stronger buy-in from society generally. The UK has made huge changes, and it’s now a major developer of finance. You see a cross party consensus . . . the old days when one end of the political spectrum was for development and the other against have changed. And that’s a good thing,” he says.

    While the UK government and opposition have confirmed that they will protect their aid budgets, the economic downturn is beginning to have an effect—of this there is “no question,” says Dr Lob-Levyt, who took up his post at GAVI at the …

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