20 June 2008 The report from the GAVI Alliance, which includes the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), found that more than 2.9 million premature deaths have been averted by the partnership since it was formed in 2000.
Rising immunization rates are the cause, with 75 per cent of children in 72 GAVI-eligible countries immunized last year with three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccines, up from 64 per cent in 2000.
Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the GAVI Alliance, said that immunization is the one health intervention that offers poor countries the best opportunity to make economic and social progress.
“Health gains that took rich countries 150 years to achieve can now be attained in just 10 to 15 years by developing countries, thanks to new technology and a revitalized global commitment to protect all children against preventable diseases,” he said.
Dr. Lob-Levyt added that new vaccines and forms of technology, as well as new streams of funding, were “allowing us to tackle the killer diseases in a methodical and consistent way. We are at a seminal moment in positively impacting health in poor nations.”
The report, released today, also found that more poor countries are making efforts to introduce new or under-used vaccines and more nations are also applying for financial support from the GAVI Alliance to strengthen their health-care systems.
The GAVI Alliance, which was earlier known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, aims to bring together the key stakeholders in immunization, including governments, the vaccine industry, philanthropists such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and research and technical agencies.
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