Today’s Gavi replenishment was historic in that it marked the start of BRICS contribution to the Gavi fund, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the initiative. Having benefitted from previous Gavi support, China highlighted its willingness to share its growing wealth by pledging $5 million to the partnership. It was also impressive to see how the efforts of single champions can make or break Gavi’s $7.5 billion target. Cases in point are Bill Gates’ $1.5 billion commitment and the UK £1 billion pledge, which put GAVI in good stead for reaching its goal.
The European Commission was represented by the Development Commissioner, Neven Mimica, and pledged a much welcomed 200 million euros for the years 2016-2020. Although this is not equal to the amount originally advocated for by civil society (250 million euros), it is a considerable increase compared to the 175 million euros committed by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barosso, for 2014-2020 in May 2014. Through today’s pledge, the Commissioner has not only underlined his commitment and that of the EC to Gavi, but has also shown EU leadership on global health as we enter the European Year of Development. Civil society actively engaged with the Commission on the benefits of the partnership and is pleased to see that these discussions have resulted in a pledge very close to the civil society demand (40 million vs. 50 million a year).
Given the generosity of numerous donors today, it is likely that those 22 million children left behind will be reached and that indeed, 5-6 million lives will be saved, allowing us to reap US$80-100 billion in economic benefits. This was made possible through a joint effort by countries spanning the entire globe, including the BRICS. Today will thus perpetuate and build on the successes of GAVI since its inception in 2000. It is hoped that with such large funds, vaccine prices will further drop and immunisation programmes will become more extensive, thereby reaching every child!