By Henry Neondo
The Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, GAVI announced yesterday that the new multinational fund that will leverage long-term commitments from rich governments to raise urgently needed financing for health programmes in poor countries is close to implementation.
The fund to be known as International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), is to provide to provide US$4 billion of financing for immunisation over a period of ten years by raising capital against donor pledges made from 2006 to 2025.
"All of the members of the GAVI Alliance, especially health officials in the countries we support, are eagerly awaiting the IFFIm to become operational so they can get funding for their programmes", said Julian Lob-Levyt, executive secretary of the GAVI Alliance. "Today’s announcement means that we are closer to being able to deliver that funding."
This approach, said GAVI will enable the Alliance invest now in strengthening health systems and developing and introducing urgently-needed new vaccines to fulfill the Millennium Development Goal pertaining to child health.
The GAVI Alliance estimates that IFFIm funding will prevent the deaths of more than five million children from vaccine-preventable diseases over the next ten years. Millions more deaths will be prevented, beyond the 10 year timeframe of the initiative, through the lasting benefits of childhood immunisation.
The IFFIm was announced in September 2005 in London when France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom committed to support and scale up the work of the GAVI Alliance over the next decade. Since then, Norway has also committed to help fund the IFFIm.
"With the IFFIm we will be able to save millions of children’s lives and prevent immeasurable sickness and suffering", said Alan R. Gillespie, chair of the IFFIm company board. "In addition we have the opportunity to test an innovative financing structure that may transform the way international development is funded."
It was also announced that the World Bank will serve as Treasury Manager for the IFFIm. In that capacity, the World Bank will borrow funds in the capital markets on behalf of the IFFIm, manage its liquidity and hedging activities, and administer donor pledges and cash flows.
After an international search, five individuals have been named by the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) to serve on the board of a charitable company that will be established to operate the IFFIm: Alan R. Gillespie, chair; Michèle Boccoz; John Cummins; Dayanath Jayasuriya; and Arunma Oteh.