GAVI asks for $7.5B to protect over 300M children until 2020

From left to right: GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Franklin Berkley, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and GAVI Chairman Dagfinn Hoybraten at the 2nd replenishment launch meeting of the GAVI Alliance. Photo by: European Commission

The GAVI Alliance launched its second replenishment on Tuesday in Brussels with an appeal for an additional $7.5 billion to help protect more than 300 million children from life-threatening diseases and save up to 12 million lives by 2020.

This would be on top of $2 billion already raised and allocated for the 2016 to 2020 funding cycle, a 15 percent increase over the funds for the present funding cycle.

In a statement, GAVI Chairman Dagfinn Hoybraten told donors that “we are faced with an historic opportunity to support countries to build sustainable immunization programs that will protect entire generations of children" and “secure the future health and economic prosperity of all our children in years to come."

A considerable chunk of the $7.5 billion — which is more money than the Alliance has asked for since it was established in 2000 — will come from the European Commission, which pledged €175 million (almost $240 million), more than four times the €39 million committed for the current funding cycle. The rest of the funds are expected to come from other traditional donors and philanthropic organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of GAVI’s main backers.

At the previous pledging conference in 2011, the group requested $3.7 billion and received $4.3 billion, which was supplemented by funding from the International Financing Facility for Immunization, bringing the total amount spent on the current funding cycle to about $7.4 billion.

READ: 3 questions as GAVI approaches next replenishment

Apart from funding, delegates attending the replenishment conference also discussed other topics, and one major concern was what will happen to 22 partner countries that by 2020 will “graduate” from the Alliance as their GNI per capita increases beyond the eligibility threshold.

Those countries will no longer qualify to receive financial support from GAVI for new vaccines, although they will still be able to apply for pneumococcal vaccines through GAVI and UNICEF at Advance Market Commitment terms and conditions if they agree to pay the $3.5 vaccine co-payment from the outset. Bhutan, Cuba, East Timor, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine all meet these criteria.

On Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline announced in Brussels that it would continue to provide all the graduating countries with vaccines at the discounted GAVI rates as they start implementing their own immunization programs. GSK provides vaccines for pneumococcal disease, rotavirus and cervical cancer to GAVI for rates that are sometimes as low as one-tenth of the price in the developed world.

The Alliance’s next replenishment meeting will be held in 2015 in Germany. This is notable because last month GAVI CEO publicly mentioned that Germany was one of the top donors "punching below its weight" in terms of its commitment to GAVI, something that may change if they host the conference.

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