Photography: Save the Children: GAVI Alliance
In January 2000, with global immunisation rates stagnating, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) was launched to fund vaccines for children in more than 70 of the world's poorest countries. GAVI's mission is to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries.
By pulling the specialist skills of all the main players in immunisation - WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, donor governments, developing countries, international development and finance organisations and the pharmaceutical industry - into one, decision-making body, GAVI has brought a single-minded focus to the urgent task of closing the gap between children for whom immunisation is a given and millions of children worldwide with no access to basic vaccines.
Save the Children supported GAVI's first ever pledging conference, held in London in June 2011, where the Alliance embraced an ambitious five year agenda: assist developing countries to immunise an additional quarter of a billion children by 2015 and potentially save four million more lives. These goals were enshrined in a five-year strategy, which includes strategic goals, a series of programmatic targets and a range of indicators to monitor progress towards fulfilling GAVI's mission.
This is a look at Save the Children's vaccination efforts in South Sudan, where the world’s lowest vaccine coverage rate – 17% of children are vaccinated – presents a massive challenge to health workers in remote areas of the country.