Africa receives first delivery of GAVI/Global Fund Vaccines
Bill Gates Senior
Helps Deliver Life-saving Vaccines to Mozambique
Maputo, Mozambique 6 April In a major step towards saving the
lives of millions of children around the world, the Global
Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the Global Fund for Children's
Vaccines began the first round of a global schedule of vaccine delivery,
to Mozambique, the first to reach the African continent.
Bill Gates Sr., Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
joined Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF) and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, at Boane
District Health Clinic, 45 kms from the capital city Maputo, to see
infants being immunized with DTP-hepB vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus,
whooping cough and hepatitis B.
World Bank press release
The World Health Organization press statement
Following the official presentation of the new vaccines by Gates Sr.
and Bellamy, President Chissano announced that Boane District would
pilot immunization with the combination DTP-hepB vaccines until a nation-wide
campaign begins in July. The pilot will set in motion a host of activities
to revitalize the country's immunization programme including: training
healthworkers about the new combination vaccine and correct use of safety
devices, and how to communicate to a variety of audiences the importance
of all infants receiving a full schedule of vaccinations.
The Mozambican Government received the first half of 1.3 million doses
of DTP-hepB vaccines worth an estimated $1.5 million. An additional
contribution of $462,000 to strengthen immunization services was also
"After a year of hard work, it is gratifying to see our actions
begin to bear fruit as vaccines are delivered to countries and most
importantly to children," said Gates, Sr. "Now we have to
quickly expand to all areas of the world, so we can help save the lives
of two million children every year with vaccines against preventable
More countries to receive vaccines
Since its launch at Davos in January 2000, one of the major achievements
of GAVI and the Global Fund is a new vaccine procurement system. By
guaranteeing long-term purchasing commitments, it enables manufacturers
to produce vaccines at affordable prices. These vaccines were previously
only available for children in industrialized countries. In this way,
a viable market has been created combining new and old antigens, such
as hepatitis B combined with DTP. Plans are currently underway to ship
vaccines to 15 more countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Laos and eight other
countries within Africa throughout 2001. A total of 74 of the world's
poorest countries are expected to receive support from GAVI and The
Two million children die globally every year because they lack
access to immunization. Measles virtually unseen in rich countries
today kills nearly one million children annually. Complications
caused by hepatitis B infection claim another million adult lives per
year due to lack of childhood immunization against the disease. Studies
in Mozambique show that approximately 20 percent of the adult population
are chronically infected with hepatitis. The newly awarded contribution
will help the country increase its effort to fight the disease.
Mozambique is one of 25 countries to secure support from GAVI and the
Global Fund after a first review of country proposals. Government and
health officials are committed to using the contribution to increase
access to immunization countrywide. The arrival of the new vaccines
together with financial support for immunization services is key to
creating a sustainable service throughout the country.
"The Global Fund is delighted to be able to fund these life-saving
vaccines for the children of Mozambique, and is happy to become a partner
with this country in our shared effort to reduce vaccine preventable
deaths," said Jacques Francois Martin, President of The Global
Vaccines, syringes and safety
In addition to the vaccines themselves, auto-disable syringes and safety
boxes are also being provided. The auto-disable syringe includes a safety
device that prevents its reuse. WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Assocations have adopted a global policy
on injection safety calling for the use of auto-disposable syringes
for all immunization by the end of 2003. In 2000, a significant number
of the 10 to 15,000 new cases of hepatitis B in Mozambique resulted
from unsafe injections -- world-wide there are between eight to 16 million
new cases each year. From July 2001 onwards, Mozambique plans to fully
integrate auto-disable syringes for all immunizations.
"Vaccine safety is just as important as the vaccines themselves,"
said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "Poor vaccination
practices can lead to the spread of disease, rather than its prevention.
Supporting countries to improve injection practices is part and parcel
of GAVI's mission."
Mozambique has one of the highest rates of child mortality in the
world with 146 out of 1000 children dying before their first birthday.
Some 12.5 percent of Mozambican babies are born with low birth weight
due to maternal malnutrition and 36 percent of all children under three
years of age are stunted because of chronic malnutrition. Immunization
rates are improving but still low with only 73 percent of children completing
their vaccination schedule. The state of emergency caused by the floods
in 2000 and 2001 has worsened the situation in the central and southern
provinces, and increased the vulnerability of women and children to
malnutrition and disease.
The Global Fund for Children's Vaccines, a new financing resource that
was created in 1999, provides financial support directly to low-income
countries to strengthen their immunization services and to purchase
new and under-used vaccines.
The Global Fund received an initial $750 million grant from the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has since received support
from governments and other donors. In the future, Global Fund resources
may also be used to accelerate the development of vaccines for diseases
responsible for significant mortality in developing countries, such
as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and acute respiratory diseases.
While the Global Fund has its own Board and management for fiduciary
and fundraising responsibilities, decisions about programs to receive
support will be made on the recommendation of GAVI.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)
is a coalition of organizations formed in 1999 in response to stagnating
global immunization rates and widening disparities in vaccine access
among industrialized and developing countries. The GAVI partners include:
national governments, the Gates Children's Vaccine Program at PATH,
the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations
(IFPMA), research and public health institutions, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF,
the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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For further information, press kits, film footage
and photos please contact:
Yasmin Zaman, UNICEF Maputo
on tel: (+258) 1 491 023 or mobile (+ 258) 82 316 539
Joseldo Massango, UNICEF Maputo
on tel: (+258) 1 491 023 or mobile (+258) 82 317 906
Dr. Martinho Dgedge, Ministry of Health on tel: (+258) 1 421 738 or
mobile (+258) 82 326 065
Annemarie Hou, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on tel: (+1) 206
709 3265 or mobile (+1) 206 619 4456
Liza Barrie, UNICEF New York
on tel: (+1) 212 326 7593 or mobile (+1) 646 207 5178
Visit our website for more information about GAVI and The Global Fund: