7 December 2012

Africa: Gavi Awards Countries and Advocates for Accelerating Access to Life-Saving Vaccines

press release

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — 13 countries receive awards; government leaders, parliamentarians and civil society groups receive special recognitions

The GAVI Alliance celebrated the accomplishments of 13 countries in increasing access to immunisation during a ceremony last night at the GAVI Partners' Forum. The ceremony was hosted by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Tanzanian radio host Taji Liunn.

The awards recognised specific achievements in each country, from improvements in routine immunisation to the impact of disease-specific programmes. Countries which faced severe challenges but continued to press forward with immunisation programmes were awarded for their resilience. Special recognition awards were also given to GAVI Alliance partners from civil society organisations and the private sector, as well as to leaders who have worked to build local and international support for immunisation as a development tool.

GAVI Alliance Board Chair Dagfinn Høybråten said, "The GAVI Alliance is honoured to reward governments for the extraordinary efforts they have made to increase access to immunisation, despite the tremendous economic, social and environmental challenges many of them face."

GAVI Alliance CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, said, "We know that expanding access to life-saving vaccines is not a simple task. All of the awardees have worked strategically with their partners to strengthen the health care system to deliver vaccines more efficiently and reach more children as rapidly as possible. Each GAVI Alliance partner has an essential role to play and we celebrate country-led innovations and accomplishments."

Bangladesh, Honduras, Madagascar and Nicaragua received awards for best performance in routine immunisation. This award goes to countries which have successfully increased immunisation coverage.

Honduras and Rwanda won awards for the successful introduction of new vaccines. Honduras was recognised for achieving 98 per cent coverage within two years for rotavirus vaccines, which protect children against rotavirus diarrhoea, and Rwanda for achieving a coverage rate of 97 per cent with pneumococcal vaccine, which protects children against one of the leading causes of pneumonia.

Ghana received two awards - the first for its work in improving the supply chain, the second for measles control. Ghana was the first GAVI-eligible country to deliver a dual roll-out of the pneumococcal and the rotavirus vaccines. Additionally, Ghana has not had a resurgence of measles outbreaks and has not recorded a single measles death in its population of 24 million people since 2003.

The Resilience Award was presented to Haiti and Madagascar. Both countries have maintained or increased DTP31 coverage despite experiencing recurrent and/or major natural disasters since 2009.

Afghanistan won the award for civil society commitment, recognising a true spirit of partnership with civil society in immunisation service delivery for tangible results.

Burkina Faso received the award for carrying out an effective meningitis A campaign. Burkina Faso was the first of ten countries to introduce the new meningitis A vaccine. By the end of 2012, these campaigns will have reached 112 million people in a region of Africa known as the "meningitis belt."

Malawi received an award for equity, having demonstrated increased equity in vaccine coverage between males and females, boys and girls throughout the country.

Bolivia, Mongolia, Rwanda and Solomon Islands received Co-Financing and Sustainability awards. These awards recognise countries who have exceeded their co-financing requirements for GAVI-supported vaccines and provided funding for non GAVI-supported vaccines in 2011.

Rwanda received the award for the largest decline in under five child mortality with a 70% drop between 2000 and 2011.

Special Recognitions for non-country partners

GAVI also acknowledged the outstanding work of parliamentarians, government leaders and civil society organisations in increasing vaccine coverage and securing sustainable funding for immunisation.

The Inspire Award for donor parliamentarians was given to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Child Health and Vaccine Preventable Diseases. The Inspire Award for implementing country parliamentarians was given to the Hon Hudah Oleru of Uganda.

Save the Children received the Rise Up special recognition which acknowledges the unique contribution of a civil society organisation to advancing GAVI's mission through advocacy. Save the Children has promoted the power of vaccination from the slums of Sierra Leone to the corridors of the World Health Assembly, mobilised 40,000 supporters in the UK, and has been critical to raising the importance of equity in immunisation.

BRAC received the special recognition for CSO (civil society organisation) impact. This acknowledges the unique contribution of BRAC to delivering immunisation services, improving immunisation coverage and advancing in-country advocacy. BRAC sits on national health policy committees and last year through its community mobilisation efforts fully immunised over 11 million children.

The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) received recognition as the GAVI Private Sector Partner of the year. CIFF was recognized for its financial support to GAVI as well as its commitment to finding new ways of working together to improve the lives of the world's most disadvantaged children.

For their work championing immunisation, the Special Recognition for Leadership/Role Model was shared by two First Ladies - Her Excellency Ms Salma Kikwete (First Lady of Tanzania), and Her Excellency Dr Christine Kaseba Sata (First Lady of Zambia).

A final special recognition was given to the Honourable Hussein Ali Mwinyi, Tanzania's Minister of Health and Social Welfare, and the Honourable William Mgimwa, Tanzania's Minister of Finance, in recognition of their roles in hosting the 5th GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum. Mr Mwinyi was recognised for his leadership and the Ministry of Health's track record in expanding access to vaccines and immunisation. Mr Mgimwa was recognized for his critical role in developing sustainable health financing to support enhanced and equitable access to immunisation in Tanzania.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka closed the evening ceremonies with a rousing rendition of Amazing Man, her personal tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Click to view the GAVI Awards & Special Recognitions list.

Click to view the full donor list.

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