The Daily Impact: Leaders Gather in for Global Vaccine Summit

April 24, 2013

The Gates Foundation is hosting the first Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi that will bring together the world’s leaders and propel progress towards vaccine coverage.

The Summit, focused on the power of vaccines, is being held during World Immunization Week (April 24-30) to continue the momentum of the Decade of Vaccines — a vision and commitment to reach all people with the vaccines they need. Ending polio is a critical milestone in this vision.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will deliver a keynote to celebrate progress and honor the individuals, communities, partners and nations that have made success possible. The speech will be webcast live at www.globalvaccinesummit.org.

“Vaccines work to save lives and protect children for a lifetime,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “By investing in stronger immunization systems, we can protect our gains against polio and reach mothers and children with other health services.”

The world is coming together around the Global Vaccine Action Plan, endorsed by nearly 200 countries last May, to develop better and more affordable vaccines and deliver them through stronger routine immunization systems. If we succeed, we can save more than 20 million lives and prevent nearly one billion illnesses by 2020. This will save nearly $12 billion in treatment costs and achieve more than $800 billion in economic gains as vaccinated children live longer, healthier, more productive lives.

“The Global Vaccine Summit is an historic gathering of global leaders and innovators whose collaboration can have a significant and positive impact on ensuring a healthy global society. Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, we remain committed to supporting the delivery of lifesaving vaccines to children around the world,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Immunization is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent disease and safeguard young lives,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The global success so far in fighting polio shows how far we can advance. Our great progress came thanks to an international alliance of partners. Today, we have a window of opportunity to end polio forever.”

The Global Vaccine Summit is being held in partnership with His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Global Health and Development Beat

Vaccines – A vaccine campaign in northern Mali braves a series of obstacles to reaching children.

Polio – The 1,000 cases of children paralyzed by polio in northern Nigeria are a result of rejected vaccines and misinformation, said the Minister of State for Health.

Health Systems – Malawi is facing a shortage of medical specialists with only 177 in the country.

Reproductive Health – An NGO in Malawi is supporting the production and use of sanitary pads to economically empower young girls.

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The Players

MSF – MSF says it is treating children in Nigeria’s Zamfara state for lead poisoning.

HBO – A profile of director Richard Curtis and his new film that debuted on HBO this weekend, that tells the story of two women who lobby Washington on malaria following the death of children to the parasite.

WHO and UNICEF – 46 African nations are gathering this week for the third African Vaccination Week under the theme “Save lives. Prevent disabilities. Vaccinate.”

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Buzzing in the Blogs

As leaders gather for the Global Vaccine Summit, PATH CEO Steve Davis sets forward what he says is a bold vision for global health in Forbes. He writes:

Those of us who work in global health know how critical it is to set a bold vision and work toward achieving health milestones that can change the course of the world. We also know what it takes to achieve such a vision. At PATH, we call it innovation enterprise—innovating across multiple platforms, using a whole toolkit of health interventions.

Partnerships between the public, nonprofit, and private sectors—such as those that will emerge from this week’s summit—can accelerate progress and turn ideas into powerhouse solutions. Groundbreaking technologies and approaches can overcome roadblocks to immunization. Scientific expertise, advocacy efforts, and a focus within countries on their specific needs can ensure that vaccines are accessible, affordable, and driven by public health goals. Entrepreneurism and an approach rooted in evidence can help us develop and facilitate new ideas and technologies. After 35 years of driving global health solutions, all of this is in our DNA.

Solutions that scale

Amid this vital global focus on polio eradication, we’re continuing to drive advances in other vaccines—for pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and malaria—and partnering with the GAVI Alliance and others to make sure all children have a chance at healthy futures.

In the last two years, for example, we’ve seen meningococcal A meningitis epidemics virtually disappear in parts of sub-Saharan Africa as a new vaccine, MenAfriVac™, rolls out across two dozen meningitis belt countries. In Burkina Faso, epidemic meningitis A has been eliminated because of the vaccine, and other countries are poised for the same success.

The story is one of my favorite examples of how technical know-how, cross-sector collaboration—between PATH, the World Health Organization, and the Serum Institute of India—and buy-in from African countries fatigued by a century of deadly epidemics, allowed the partnership to deliver a new solution directly to the people who need it, at a price they can afford.

As I join fellow health leaders in Abu Dhabi this week, I tip my hat to the many people who are strategizing how to stamp out polio once and for all. PATH works on all facets of achieving goals as audacious as this, and we know it’s possible—with the right combination of tools, talent, and collaboration. This week also marks World Malaria Day and World Immunization Week—a reminder that we have our work cut out for us not just to eradicate polio but to protect people all over the world from what we know are preventable diseases. These are all big, bold visions—and ones I deeply believe we can achieve.

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Capital Events

Wednesday

2:00 PM – International Development Priorities in the FY 2014 Budget – Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

2:00 PM – Fiscal Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean – IADB

Thursday

8:15 AM – Ten Years of PEPFAR: A Conversation about Evaluation, Advocacy and Grantmaking – Aspen Institute

11:00 AM – Hot Topics and Trends for Nonprofits

12:00 PM – Elections Through Her Eyes: Women’s Empowerment, Inclusion and the Electoral Process – IFES

12:00 PM – American Investments Take a Bite out of Malaria: Progress and Challenges to Defeating this Deadly Epidemic – Russell Senate Office Building

Friday

2:00 PM – A Conversation on the UN Youth Agenda with Ahmad Alhendawi – CSIS

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By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy

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