GAVI, Ghana and Global Fund host event at U.N. General Assembly

Ghana hosted a side event last week at the U.N. General Assembly in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance.

The September 24 session focused on the theme of 21st century development and using the power of global public-private partnerships beyond 2015. U.N. officials, private sector partners, GAVI partner countries, the donor community and representatives from the GAVI Alliance and the Global Fund attended the event.

"(The post 2015 agenda provides an opportunity) for the introduction of new ways of delivering smart development by harnessing the lessons learnt from global public-private partnerships," John Mahama, the president of Ghana, said.

Mahama said that the work of the Global Fund and GAVI allowed for new and unprecedented financing for global health.

"Together they have raised well over $30 billion since their creation," Mahama said. "This represents a massive injection of resources for health. Importantly, the money has not just come from government donors. These partnerships have demonstrated the potential to raise funds from the private sector, through capital markets, innovative marketing, as well as via commercial relationships and direct donations."

In Ghana specifically, Mahama said the GAVI Alliance drove down the price of new vaccines by over one-third in the last two years, while the Global Fund helped to lower antiretroviral drugs by over 50 percent.

"In fact Ghana, was the first GAVI partner country to introduce two new vaccines at the same time," Mahama said. "In April last year, we added pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines to the national routine immunization program, thus protecting our children against the deadly diseases of pneumonia and diarrhea. This year, Ghana will begin a demonstration project vaccinating girls against human papillomavirus. HPV as you are aware, is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which is the biggest cancer killer of women on the African continent."

Mahama will co-host GAVI's mid-term review in Stockholm in October.