Kenya is among the African countries tapped to receive more vaccines from a global vaccine agency in an effort to boost its fight against diseases.
Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) announced that it plans to increase the supply of vaccination drugs to several African countries.
Gavi has been supporting African countries in buying 6 basic vaccination drugs and it plans to increase the number to 18 by the year 2025.
Gavi supports Kenya to procure vaccines through co-financing, where Kenya pays for 400 million shillings, while the agency caters for the rest of the funds annually.
Supply of vaccines for diseases like inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), yellow fever, cholera, rabies, and multivalent meningococcal are set to increase with Ebola drugs supply still pending as the agency awaits approval from World Health Organization.
In order to execute the supply plan effectively, Gavi has launched a fundraising campaign that targets to raise a lumpsum of up to 7.4 billion US dollars.
“An investment in Gavi not only saves lives, it also boosts economies,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board and former Nigeria Finance Minister. “Each dollar invested in immunization gives a return of up to US$ 54 in wider societal benefits.”
According to Dr Seth Berkley, the chief executive officer Gavi, the alliance has been able to protect a generation against some of the world’s deadliest diseases for over two decades.
Preventable diseases have been responsible for 1.5 million deaths annually. Climatic changes, conflict and urbanization have also made it easier for outbreaks and spreading of certain diseases.
Sustained investment is needed to secure prosperity for the next generation, prevent resurgence of diseases and protect from frequent outbreaks made worse by climate change, urbanization and conflicts.
“Children who are vaccinated are more likely to go to school. Their relatives aren’t forced to give up work to look after their sick children or fall into poverty, thanks to often-debilitating healthcare costs,” the adds Dr. Berkley.
Since Gavi’s inception in 2000 the Vaccine Alliance has helped to immunize over 760 million people against deadly diseases, saving more than 13 million lives.
In the 2021-2025 period, the Vaccine Alliance aims to reach an additional 300 million children, saving a further 7-8 million lives. This will bring the total number of children vaccinated with Gavi support to more than 1.1 billion, saving at least 22 million lives.