In Cambodia, the Beginning of a New Era in Immunization
19 August 2001
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to participate in this significant occasion.
Only four months ago I was in Mozambique, to participate in a global event to mark the very first immunization provided by the Vaccine Fund with the support of GAVI--the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. Since then, many more countries are benefiting from new resources available for immunization. They are also benefiting from the renewed commitment of traditional as well as new partners in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations.
What we are witnessing in Cambodia is the beginning of a new era in immunization. We are not just doing more of the same "business as usual". While we recognize that we have to do a better job and reach every child everywhere with the traditional six vaccines, regardless of geographic location, economic, gender or ethic status, we are also working together to increase access to new and underused vaccines such as hepatitis B, and to address issues such as injection safety.
GAVI is an unprecedented partnership. For no other single health issue is there such high level commitment across the partners. My colleagues on the GAVI Board represent national governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Vaccine manufacturers research institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
The work of GAVI is the work of its partners. There are no "GAVI" staff other than the staff of our collective organizations, most importantly those working tirelessly to deliver immunizations to children everyday, often without the acknowledgement they deserve. Together, we are "GAVI".
The work behind organizing this event today is the work of all of the GAVI partners-particularly the Ministry of Health, WHO, PATH, USAID and UNICEF. I congratulate the interagency coordination committee for your efforts and your role as the historic first step in GAVI's work in Asia, supported by resources from the Vaccine Fund.
The region, and the world, will be looking to you as a pioneer-and looking to learn from your experiences. We look forward to continuing to work with you in making this effort a REAL success.