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Money with a mission: life-saving vaccines for every child


A mass vaccination campaign against measles and polio – potentially deadly diseases – at a refugee camp in Ethiopia for children forced to flee conflict in South Sudan.

Vaccination is one of the simplest, cheapest and most cost-effective health services. In low-income countries, vaccination can make the difference between a child living and dying, between a healthy life or illness and disability.

That’s why Save the Children is backing Gavi, an alliance of agencies supporting the world’s poorest countries to increase immunisation, which is now trying to raise funds for its next period of operation.

This campaign is not business as usual

We’ve already helped Gavi to form an ambitious plan that aims to build health services for all, transforming who is able to gain access to immunisation.

Currently, we know that the poorest children don’t get vaccines. This inequality reflects the grim facts of access to all health services: if children are being denied vaccinations, then we can be sure that they are denied other health services too.

Helping to prevent the unexpected

So Gavi has a mission to reduce this inequality and work towards universal coverage of immunisation. But immunisation services should not be delivered alone.

The Ebola crisis has proved this; if services only deliver vaccines, or only HIV services, then they will not be able to prevent the unexpected or deal with other problems which may not be priorities for donor countries.

Gavi also intends to provide much more than a short-term fix. Aid dipping into a country and then out again is little use if it has not helped put in place long-term changes so that countries can take over responsibility and build on what they have gained.

Gavi aims to make lasting changes by helping to drive down the prices of vaccines so that governments in low-income countries can afford them in the long-term.

Success is not guaranteed

To achieve all this, Gavi needs to raise money but it also needs influential donors to back the mission. This is why we are calling on the UK government to do two things:

  • commit to funding Gavi over the next five years
  • tell everyone that it backs Gavi’s mission to reduce inequality and build long-term services.

Without strong support from the UK, its biggest donor, Gavi cannot turn this strategy into action.

Find out how you’d fare in a world without vaccines: try out our quick Play the Odds quiz – and afterwards support our call for the British government to play its part in this mission.


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