Global Policy Forum

Donor Backing Grows for Global Vaccinations Scheme

May 16, 2006

Donor backing for a scheme to save 10 million lives in Africa and Asia by securing finance for vaccination programs is gathering pace with three new countries signing up, a senior official said on Tuesday. The International Finance Facility for Immunizations (IFFIm) aims to increase the amount of money available for immunizations and developing new vaccines by securing long-term donor funding as collateral for bond issues.

The financing plan is a pilot of the International Finance Facility championed by Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown as a way of increasing flows of aid funds to Africa by borrowing against future aid payments pledged by donors.

"We will be continuing to recruit more countries in the near future to get to the fully-funded $4 billion level," said Jean-Pierre Le Calvez, advocacy head of The Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations (GAVI), which launched the IFFIm. Speaking on the sidelines of an African economy and finance conference in Burkina Faso, Le Calvez said the IFFIm had now secured around $3.2 billion in funding.

Le Calvez said Norway had given its backing to the project in December, followed by Brazil and, last month, South Africa. Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden initially backed the IFFIm.GAVI says its vaccination campaigns since 2000 have already reached 15 million children with basic vaccines, averting 1.7 million future deaths.

With the IFFIm facility, GAVI says its vaccination programs could save the lives of an additional 5.3 million children by 2015 -- mostly in Africa and Asia -- and 5 million more adult lives through Hepatitis B immunizations.

In addition, providing a predictable and steady outlet for pharmaceutical firms would encourage them to develop new vaccines, speeding the advent of effective vaccines against pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases and rotavirus diarrhea which between them kill 1 million children every year, it said.



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