The GAVI Alliance presented awards to countries and advocates last week to celebrate their achievements in increasing access to immunization at the GAVI Partners' Forum in Tanzania.
The alliance recognized specific achievements in each of 12 countries, including the impact of disease-specific programs and improvements in routine immunization. The organization also gave special recognition awards to members of the private sector, partners from civil society and leaders who built immunization support on the local and international level.
"The GAVI Alliance is honored to reward governments for the extraordinary efforts they have made to increase access to immunization, despite the tremendous economic, social and environmental challenges many of them face," Dagfinn Høybråten, the board chair of the GAVI Alliance, said.
Rwanda and Honduras won awards for successfully introducing new vaccines, Ghana received awards for improving the vaccine supply chain and for measles control, and the resilience award went to Madagascar and Haiti. Other countries receiving awards included Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mongolia and Bolivia.
Organizations and individuals receiving awards included Save the Children, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Child Health and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Hon Hudah Oleru, BRAC, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Tanzania's First Lady Salma Kikwete and Zambia's First Lady Christine Kaseba Sata.
"We know that expanding access to life-saving vaccines is not a simple task," Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said. "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."
Tanzania's Minister of Health and Social Welfare Hussein Ali Mwinyi and Tanzania's Minister of Finance William Mgimwa received special recognition for hosting the 5th GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum.