Mary Robinson asks you to speak up for children’s right to health

The Governments of the United States and Norway will co-host a high-level meeting of GAVI Alliance donors and partners in New York on 6 October to build on GAVI’s success in preventing 5.4 million deaths in its first 10 years.

The meeting will set the outline  for a pledging meeting in 2011. GAVI needs to raise US$4.3 billion to scale-up immunisation programmes between 2010 and 2015.

Mary Robinson, Chair of the GAVI Alliance Board and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative has issued a public call to galvanise support ahead of the pledging conference.

“The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
is a fundamental right of every human being. Yet each year millions of
people, mainly in developing countries, die unnecessarily of diseases that
can be easily prevented. The vast majority of victims are babies and young

As a human rights activist, I believe it’s essential that all children have
equal access to health services. That includes being vaccinated against
common but deadly diseases, such as pneumonia and severe diarrhoea, the two
biggest killers of children under five. It’s for that reason I accepted to
lead the Board of the GAVI Alliance in 2008.

In just under a decade, GAVI has achieved impressive results in 72 of the
poorest countries. Hundreds of millions of children have been protected and
in total, more than 5.4 million deaths have been averted. Global
immunisation rates have never been higher.

This collective success is in jeopardy, however, if donors do not remain
committed to immunisation and finance GAVI’s US$ 4.3 billion funding

Their commitment is more critical than ever. New vaccines against
pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of pneumonia, and rotavirus, which
causes diarrhoea, could save millions of lives and fast-track progress
towards meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals.

All children, irrespective of where they live, have the right to a full and
healthy life. For those children in the world who do not have a voice, help us advocate for their right to health.”

The funding that GAVI is requesting would, in part, pay for the introduction of new vaccines to tackle major causes of the world’s two biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrhoea, as well as advance the introduction of new vaccines against HPV, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis serogroup A, rubella and typhoid. With the funding in place, GAVI estimates it can save a projected 4.2 million lives in developing countries over the next four years thereby helping to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 which aims to reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

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