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Investing in Immunization


Bill Gates speaks at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, GAVI, conference in London. (File)

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to ensure good health is immunization of all children against the most common and most debilitating diseases.

A healthy life is a gift, and benefits not only individuals who are blessed with good health, but also their families and communities. Healthy individuals make up a stronger, more resilient workforce and are more likely to raise healthy children that become healthy adults, continuing the cycle.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to ensure good health is immunization of all children, against the most common and most debilitating diseases such as measles, pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus and polio – to name a few.

We know that immunization works. Since 1990, child mortality has dropped by half, and much of that is due to increased rates of immunization.

Each year, immunization averts some 2 to 3 million death. Nonetheless, because 1 in every 5 children globally misses out on routine vaccinations, about 1.5 million people die needlessly of preventable diseases.

As part of the Global Vaccine Alliance, or GAVI, the United States supports global efforts for accelerated introductions of new and life-saving vaccines in the world poorest countries and supports efforts to strengthen national immunization systems, increase immunization coverage and reduce equity gaps for children living in these poor countries. Through the investment in GAVI, the US government is helping countries to end child deaths from the most common killer diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and meningitis.

GAVI "was founded with the objective of making affordable, life-saving vaccines available to countries that otherwise could not pay for them, but as countries’ economies grow, long-term support must come from the countries themselves,” said USAID’s Deputy for Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator Elizabeth Fox.

“Each and every year, 130 million newborns need to be immunized, or we risk losing the gains that we have made. We must also ensure that the world’s 650 million children under age 5 have received their full course of recommended vaccines.”

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, especially when it comes to a child's health. That is why immunization is a crucial part of any strong health system. As part of the GAVI partnership, the United States is committed to saving lives by helping to insure that no child is left unprotected from disease.

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