KIGALI - The Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho has welcomed the recent commitment by donors to allocate US$ 4.3 billion to immunisation.
Major public and private donors achieved the milestone on Monday by committing funding to immunise more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children against life-threatening diseases by 2015 and prevent more than four million premature deaths.
They made the commitment at the first pledging conference held by the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI) in the United Kingdom.
“Rwanda is a very close partner of GAVI Alliance; we have been benefiting from several immunisation packages from the Alliance. That is why we highly appreciate the commitment made by the donors,” Dr. Binagwaho said.
“The commitments made by donors are without doubt good for Rwanda and Africa”.
GAVI’s plan to mobilise funds for massive immunisation drive was first announced during the Alliance’s Board meeting held in Kigali during the country’s launch of the nationwide Mother and Child Health Week in December last year.
The initial target was to raise US$ 3.7 billion for the next five years’ immunisation plan, but the pledges GAVI received, exceeded the target. Consequently, this gives them a chance to reach more children faster than planned and to accelerate the introduction of new vaccines.
“A portion of the pledges is conditional upon GAVI raising additional funds from new donors in the future. Today’s pledges bring GAVI’s total available resources to US$ 7.6 billion for the period 2011 to 2015,” reads a statement on GAVI’s website.
Vaccine manufacturers announced last week they would contribute by offering lower prices on a range of life-saving vaccines supported by GAVI, including a two-thirds reduction on the rotavirus vaccine, which combats the leading cause of diarrhoea deaths.
Co-financing and lower prices will enhance the sustainability of immunisation programs.