GAVI announces US$100 million in new funding

GAVI announced that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation entered into a partnership in which each committed US$50 million for immunisation programmes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of the total US$ 100 million, GAVI will receive US$66 million to buy and deliver additional supplies of the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine and to support the introduction of new pneumococcal vaccines in Afghanistan.

U.K. to double its funding of polio eradication

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the United Kingdom would double its current contribution to polio eradication, and called on other donors to back the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Prime Minister Cameron said: “I passionately believe that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of the evil of polio. We have the vaccines and the tools to do it. All that’s missing is real and sustained political will to see this effort through to the end. That’s why I’m announcing today that the UK is prepared to fully vaccinate an additional 45 million children against polio, through a doubling of our support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative over the next two years. In return for that commitment, we ask other donors to do their bit, and affected countries to strengthen their routine immunisation programmes. We have come so far in eradicating polio. We are so close to delivering a polio-free world for all our children. Let’s finish the job. And let’s eradicate polio once-and-for-all.”

Bill Gates, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed an additional $102 million to support efforts to stamp out the disease. “Eliminating the last one percent of polio requires the kind of political leadership shown by the UK government and Prime Minister Cameron today,” Gates said. “Eradicating polio requires innovative thinking and political will, as well as funding from a range of donors, to support an aggressive program that will get the job done.”

The U.K. said its commitment is subject to two conditions which will apply only to the additional £20m each year:

– first, that this additional support is underpinned by increased commitment to strengthen routine immunisation. Routine, country based immunisation programmes are vital to ensuring that polio eradication can be maintained in the future. Countries need to make national health systems capacity a priority now if we expect to maintain eradication in the future.

– second, that our support has the additional effect of leveraging more effort from others in order to broaden and deepen funding through a matching fund basis.

How will the matching basis work? For every $5 pledged by others from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012, the UK will increase its support by $1 up to a maximum of the additional £40m announced.

The UK’s challenge aims to help GPEI expand the donor base and strengthen sustainable funding options going into the future and creates an opportunity for others to get involved.

Gates: polio eradication in Pakistan

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commented on polio eradication in Pakistan, said, “We commend the government of Pakistan on its commitment to stop the transmission of the polio virus in Pakistan. In just a year’s time, I have seen the tremendous progress that can take place and I’m confident that with this plan, and the will to carry it out, Pakistan will be able to eliminate polio. This effort is essential to eradicating polio globally.  My colleagues and I are deeply committed to working closely with you to ensure success. The lives and health of children in Pakistan and throughout the world are at stake. We call on the government of Pakistan to hold a special polio summit to assess progress in six months and we stand by Pakistan as its partner in this important cause to rid the world of polio once and for all.”

The Gates Foundation noted that it has pledged more than US$1 billion to the global polio program in the last decade, including more than US$85 million for the eradication program in Pakistan.

WHO: Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

WHO said that a Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health “will propose a framework for global reporting, oversight and accountability on women’s and children’s health” and “will create a system to track whether donations for women’s and children’s health are made on time, resources are spent wisely and transparently, and whether the desired results are achieved.”  WHO said the accountability framework proposed by the Commission will:

– track results and resource flows at global and country levels;

– identify a core set of indicators and measurement needs for women’s and children’s health;

– propose steps to improve health information and registration of vital events – births and deaths – in low-income countries, and

– explore opportunities for innovation in information technology to improve access to reliable information on resources and outcomes.

The Commission will report in May 2011.

Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) publishes research agenda

The Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) initiative announced publication in a supplement to PLoS Medicine, 25 January 2011, of a collection of 12 reviews, comprising three reflective pieces and nine research and development agendas. Pedro L. Alonso, chair of the malERA Steering Committee, commented, “I am delighted to see published this R&D agenda for malaria eradication, after an intense and perhaps unprecedented consultative process that lasted two years and involved more than 250 of the leading scientists in the malaria field and beyond”.

See PLoS Medicine in Journal Watch below.