Find us on Google+

Friday, 12 June 2009

New commitment to fight pneumococcal disease

The Gates Foundation and five donor governments today pledged $1.5 billion to help give poor countries better access to vaccines against pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of child death. Pneumococcal disease causes pneumonia , meningitis and sepsis and kills more than 800,000 children every year. The Advance Market Commitment (ACM) program creates financial incentive with a guaranteed price to persuade companies to invest the large sums of money it takes to develop new vaccines. The AMC model was developed to ensure that: children in poor countries receive life-saving new vaccines right away (historically it takes as long as 20 years for a vaccine to reach developing countries); manufacturers can provide vaccines at dramatically reduced prices; and, developing nations determine which vaccines they need and receive support to integrate them into immunization programs. Starting now, vaccine manufacturers can now apply to participate in the pneumococcal AMC. New vaccines could be rolled out in developing countries as early as next year.

The GAVI Alliance partners, the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF, and five national governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today formally kicked-off the first-ever Advance Market Commitment (AMC) designed to accelerate access to vaccines against pneumococcal disease.

This innovative financing mechanism will ensure that children in the world’s poorest countries receive life-saving vaccines 15-20 years before they might otherwise have been available and at prices their governments can afford.

Pneumococcal disease takes the lives of 1.6 million people each year – including up to one million children before their fifth birthday. More than 90 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries. Pneumonia, the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease, accounts for one in every four child deaths, making it the leading cause of death among young children. It is estimated that the AMC pneumococcal pilot could prevent more than seven million childhood deaths by 2030.

Today’s signature of the AMC pilot’s legal documents caps two years of work between donors and GAVI partners UNICEF, the World Bank and the World Health Organization to finalise the financial, legal and regulatory elements of the project.

“The AMC is an important step towards reducing the health inequities between rich and poor, and a way to protect the lives of the world’s poorest children,’ said Dr Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI’s CEO. “An affordable pneumococcal vaccine is critical to reaching the Millennium Development Goals. We look forward to pharmaceutical firms applying to the AMC quickly in order to ensure the rapid introduction of life-saving vaccines against pneumonia.”

Although a pneumococcal vaccine has existed since 2000 and is part of regular immunisation programmes in developed countries, there is not a suitable and affordable vaccine for developing countries. This pilot AMC aims to address this challenge by stimulating the late stage development and manufacture of suitable vaccines at affordable prices. Through an AMC, donors commit money to guarantee the price of vaccines once they have been developed, thus creating the potential for a viable future market. These commitments provide vaccine makers with the incentive to invest the considerable sums required to conduct research and development and build manufacturing capacity.

The currently existing pneumococcal vaccine is sold at over US$70 per dose in industrialised countries. But thanks to the AMC, the long term price for developing countries will be US$ 3.50.

“This innovative new model will mean faster access to vaccines for millions of children in poor countries. It’s a great example of how innovation and technology together can produce life-saving advances and make them available to people who need them around the world” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the AMC pneumococcal pilot, the governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed US$ 1.5 billion and the GAVI Alliance promised to allocate $ 1.3 billion through 2015. Implementing countries will provide a small co-payment to contribute towards the cost of the vaccines. The World Bank provides fiduciary support, the World Health Organization has established the minimum technical criteria for a suitable pneumococcal vaccine and UNICEF will be responsible for vaccine procurement and distribution.

Companies that participate in the AMC will make legally binding long term commitments to supply the vaccines at lower and sustainable prices after the donor funds are spent.

GAVI hopes to assist up to 60 of the world’s poorest countries to introduce these vaccines by 2015.

Through its innovative approach to public health funding, the AMC serves as a foundation to accelerate the rollout of a new pneumococcal vaccine in poor countries, and holds the promise of speeding up the development of new vaccines in the future.

The World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF and other GAVI partners are continuously working together in a new accelerated and integrated approach to combat childhood killers, including pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhea, the two biggest vaccine-preventable diseases. Together, these diseases account for more than 35 percent of all child deaths each year, the majority of which are in the developing world.

With new partnerships, better planning, and successful innovative financing like the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), GAVI has already dramatically increased access to new and under-used vaccines and has prevented some 3.4 million future deaths since 2000.


  1. Thank God, Bill Gates and the world Bank did not pay attention to "Dead aid propositions".
    Dambisa Moyo wants a " cold turkey" stop to aid from the west, her approach though honorable pays no consideration to the status quo. The disruption of the traditional way of life in Africa has wrought a cultural drift that is at variance with african populations socicial development - we have the internet and insaka at the same time . How do we suychronize the two.
    urbanization brought far too many of our people to the cities that had no caopacity to provide a viable existence for the multitudes, KK tried the " go back to the land " campaign but the genie was already out of the bottle and hooked on weestern treats.
    What makes China and Botswana great economically now is that a siozable portion of their population
    is stuck in the old age without access to the treats of modernity perhaps its for the better think of te carbon print if every chinese and african ha fd a car to drive to work every day?
    There will always be the have not in this world as Jesus siad " the poor you will always have" therefore we should be grateful for Bill Gates and others and the dambisa Moyo 's of world . we shoudl all just get along it's a jungle after all with it's predators and prey, just as it been for generations.

  2. Dambisa Moyo wants a " cold turkey" stop to aid from the west, her approach though honorable pays no consideration to the status quo.

    Actually I would support that, if it was followed by a nationalisation or heavy and effective taxation of the mines.

  3. Anonymous, please do not mischaraterize the situation in China and Botswana. Other than the Basarwa (Bushmen) in Botswana there is no population that is 'stuck in the old age without access to treats of modernity...' This is false. The fact is most rural areas in Botswana have access to medical and education facilities compared to Zambia. Secondly rural dwellers in Botswana are economically active. This is where the Beef industry is centred. The Botswana govt deliberately pumped resources into the Beef sector through a country wide cross-breeding programme to improve the cattle breed. Rural areas are dotted with deep tanks and water wells for cattle. Today Botswana is one of the three African countries certified to export beef to the EU. So Tswanas have an economic interest to stay in their rural homesteads than to migrate to so called urban areas. You allude to Kaunda's 'Go back to the Land Policy'. It did not fail because Zambians were 'hooked on western treats'. It failed because Kaunda failed to provide facilities in rural areas like the Botswana govt did. So there was no incentive for people to live in rural areas. That is why the Agricultural sector in Zambia has taken so long to take off. Botswana looked at their comparative advantage and developed it. In Zambia their was a bastardisation of the rural areas through reckless abandonment. Those food subsidies must have looked like 'western treats' to people like you but it was reckless impoverishment of the rural dwellers. That is why they trekked into the unplanned shanty towns to be hooked to 'western treats' Lol!

  4. Frank -
    is it not absurd for you to claim I make a false claim in regard to Botswana yet say
    "Other than the Basarwa (Bushmen) in Botswana there is no population that is 'stuck in the old age without access to treats of modernity...' "
    Botswana has a population of less than 2 million therefore the proportion of it's population that has held on to a traditional form of livelihood. I have been to both Botswana and China so I know firsthand what am stating here, if however you got the impression i meant there is no access to modern facilities in rural Botswana I can not help what lead you to that conclusion.
    On the other I agree that the failure of the go back to land campaign was in part due to the absence of supportive infrastructure however it fair to that even when the Zambian has provided support e.g Mpongwe/Mukushi/Kanakatanpa the rate of settlement has been low.
    By western treats i mean the lure of easy work and easy lifestyle that lead to the urban drift.
    I do not advocate restricting travel as Chinese communist govt did or forced repatriation as in Kambilobilo but we both agree that the agricultural productivity of rural Zambia should be improved .

  5. More interest in making vaccines these days:

  6. Bill Gates' $10 billion vaccine program:


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.