WHO, NIH promote World Malaria Day – 25 April 2011

   WHO promoted World Malaria Day — A Day to Act (25 April 2011) as which “heralds the international community’s renewed efforts make progress towards zero malaria deaths by 2015.” WHO said malaria stakeholders “will continue to report on the remaining challenges to reach the 2010 target of universal coverage of malaria treatment and prevention,” as called for by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/worldmalariaday/index.html

NIH statement on World Malaria Day
April 25, 2011


WHO outlines “landmark” agreement“ on influenza virus access and benefits sharing

   WHO outlined details of what was described as a “landmark” agreement “to ensure that, in a pandemic, influenza virus samples will be shared with partners who need the information to take steps to protect public health.” The agreement was reached by the WHO Open-Ended Working Group of Member States on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (OEWG/PIP), convened under the authority of the World Health Assembly and coordinated by WHO. The new framework includes “certain binding legal regimes for WHO, national influenza laboratories around the world and industry partners in both developed and developing countries that will strengthen how the world responds more effectively with the next flu pandemic. By making sure that the roles and obligations among key players are better established than in the past – including through the use of contracts – the framework will help increase and expedite access to essential vaccines, antivirals and diagnostic kits, especially for outbreak areas.”

The WHO overview noted that “during an influenza outbreak, knowing the exact makeup of the virus is critical for monitoring the spread of the disease, for knowing the potential of the virus to cause a pandemic and for creating the life-saving vaccines as well as other technological benefits. However, developing countries often have limited access to these vaccines for several reasons:

– they often do not have their own manufacturing capacity,

– global supplies can be limited when there is a surge in demand as is seen during pandemics.

– vaccines can often be priced out of the reach of some countries.

“The new framework will help ensure more equitable access to affordable vaccines and at the same time, also guarantee the flow of virus samples into the WHO system so that the critical information and analyses needed to assess public health risks and develop vaccines are available.”  Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, commented, “This has been a long journey to come to this agreement, but the end result is a very significant victory for public health. It has reinforced my belief that global health in the 21st century hinges on bringing governments and key stakeholders like civil society and industry together to find solutions.”

WHO said the working group was co-chaired by Ambassador Juan José Gomez-Camacho (Mexico) and Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen (Norway) and included the participation of WHO Member States, industry representatives, civil society and other organizations involved in influenza pandemic preparedness. The agreed upon framework will be presented to the World Health Assembly in May for its consideration and approval. The negotiations by 193 WHO Member States began in November 2007 amid concerns that the avian influenza (H5N1) virus in South-East Asia could become a human pandemic, WHO said.

The text of the agreement is available at: http://www.who.int/entity/csr/disease/influenza/pip_framework_16_april_2011.pdf


IFPMA welcomes influenza virus access & benenfts sharing agreement

   The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said it welcomes the outcome of the WHO Open-Ended Working Group of Member States on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (OEWG/PIP). The Working Group has reached a decision that will result in an effective global system to prepare for potential future influenza pandemics, recognizing a shared responsibility to help secure the world against future pandemic influenza outbreaks. The IFPMA supports the reported principles of the decision, and awaits with interest the final report of the OEWG/PIP in order to comment on the detail of the framework. It will be crucial to have a system that allows for rapid access to pandemic viruses and for benefits to be allocated to those countries most in need….”
“…IFPMA members made a commitment to the OEWG to ensure that vaccines and antivirals are made available for developing country use in the event of a future pandemic, pledging to:
– reserve at least 10% of pandemic vaccine manufacturing capacity on a real-time basis, for donation to the WHO and/or supply at tiered prices, to developing countries;
– reserve at least 10% of antiviral manufacturing capacity for donation to the WHO and/or supply at tiered prices to developing countries.
“In addition, IFPMA members recognised the importance of local production of vaccines and antivirals in pandemic preparedness. Many research-based pharmaceutical companies are already investing in establishing manufacturing in several countries (Mexico, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Thailand) and funding significant capacity increases in developed countries – also to enable developing country supply. IFPMA members have given assurances to the OEWG/PIP that they will continue to explore such opportunities.

“During the OEWG/PIP consultations, individual IFPMA members confirmed that they were also willing to undertake voluntarily a selection of actions, including production capacity expansion and access to reverse genetics technology, dependent upon skills, knowledge, financial management, public health policy and national regulation.
“It would appear that the OEWG/PIP’s approach to intellectual property rights is in line with WHO reports that have concluded that IPRs have presented no barrier to supply of vaccines and antivirals to developing countries. IFPMA members will continue to ensure that intellectual property rights do not present a barrier at the next pandemic. The IFPMA gave the Working Group assurances that their members were prepared to consider, when appropriate, flexible approaches to meet this goal.
“The commitments tabled at the OEWG/PIP by IFPMA members have considerable monetary value and represent a highly significant contribution to global preparedness for a future pandemic. “It is important that they are built upon with proportionate action by other stakeholders. We believe that national governments should play a crucial role in ensuring vaccines reach their populations, including immunization policy of seasonal influenza as advised by the WHO” said Eduardo Pisani, adding “This would need to be accompanied by regulatory procedures, country surveillance, health system infrastructure, and rules for transfer of viruses to build on the significant contributions to the global pandemic made by IFPMA members.”

WHO announces details of Immunization Week 2011

WHO announced details of Immunization Week noting that “for the first time, about 180 countries and territories across the WHO regions of Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Pacific are taking part. WHO said that during immunization week “outreach teams visit communities with limited access to regular health services such as those living in remote areas, urban fringes and internally displaced people to administer vaccines. Teams carry out large-scale vaccination campaigns against diseases like measles and polio.”

WHO Director-General video message on immunization week
[Streaming wmv 03:15]

Related links

Immunization Week 2011

African Vaccination Week

Vaccination Week in the Americas

Vaccination Week in the Eastern Mediterranean

European Immunization Week

Vaccination Week in the Western Pacific


(U.S.) National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) 2011 kicks off 23 April

Assistant surgeon general and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Anne Schuchat announced National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) 2011 kicking off Saturday, 23 April 23. Dr. Schuchat noted, “Infant immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving children’s health over the past century. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be serious—even deadly—especially for infants and young children. Fortunately, most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. Today, immunization rates are at or near record highs and routine childhood immunizations save 42,000 lives, prevent 20 million cases of disease and save 13.6 billion dollars in medical costs for each birth cohort.

“While vaccine-preventable diseases are not common in the U.S., they persist around the world, so it is important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines. Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and do occur in this country. Last year in the U.S., there were more than 22,000 cases of whooping cough, and 26 deaths were reported – 22 of these deaths were in children younger than 1 year old. Outbreaks of measles are at record levels in Europe and the US is experiencing a record number of imported cases this year, raising the threat of spread in our own communities.

“These outbreaks serve as important reminders to ensure that all children are fully immunized on time according to the recommended immunization schedule. “Not receiving all doses of a vaccine leaves your child vulnerable to serious diseases like measles and whooping cough.” http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/s0422_infantimmunization.html

GAVI seeks “at least US$115 million under the Global Health account”

Alex Palacios, GAVI Special Representative, delivered a statement before the House Appropriations Sub-committee on State and Foreign Operations, United States House of Representatives, requesting “that the Subcommittee recommend at least US$115 million under the Global Health account for a U. S. Contribution to the GAVI Alliance in fiscal year 2012. The Administration for fiscal year 2012 has requested funding for GAVI at the $115 million level. He also requested that the Subcommittee recommend “at least the Administration’s request of US$849 million for the Global Health account for Child Survival and Maternal Health…”

“…GAVI and its partners now face a serious challenge to secure the financing necessary to essentially meet the aspirations of poor countries and to improve the health and wellbeing of their children. Globally, GAVI will require on average an additional $750 million per year from all sources worldwide between now and 2015 to introduce new vaccines to prevent pneumonia and diarrhea while sustaining other immunization programs.

“With additional resources GAVI can, over the next five years, ensure that four million future deaths will be averted, and over 256 million additional children vaccinated against diseases that kill or disable. We recognize this represents a significant challenge for the U.S. and other donors facing fiscal deficits and constraints. However, we know also that the U.S. Congress and the administration are seeking to support effective and efficient development programs and GAVI, with only 5 % overhead and a small staff, represents, as Bill Gates would say, good value for the money and a good investment for the American people….”