Today the GAVI Alliance announced its decision to provide 37 countries with vaccines to prevent pneumonia, diarrhea and other childhood killers. Sixteen countries received approval for rotavirus vaccines, 18 for pneumococcal vaccines, five for pentavalent vaccine and 12 for other types of vaccines, including measles and meningitis vaccines. Funding for all 37 countries exceeds one billion dollars, with much of the support coming from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
By providing more children in developing countries with rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines, millions of lives can be saved. However, millions more still continue to suffer from other life-threatening but vaccine-preventable diseases such as typhoid fever, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome. This latest announcement by the GAVI Alliance is an opportunity for global health leaders to consider what’s next on the agenda for preventing needless suffering caused by these diseases.
Sabin executive vice president, Ciro de Quadros, M.D., M.P.H., is a leader in the effort to improve access to pneumococcal, rotavirus, typhoid and rubella vaccines. “This announcement demonstrates that years of work to expand access to pneumococcal vaccines are paying off for the world’s children,” he says. But we can’t stop here, much work remains to be done.
More from Dr. de Quadros can be found here, on the ABC News Global Health Blog.