GAVI Alliance board to consider new vaccine support

GAVI Alliance partners gathered in Cambodia this week for a meeting to determine which new vaccines will be added to its portfolio of support, the organization said on Tuesday.

Representatives from donor and developing countries, vaccine manufacturers, civil society organizations and other global immunization stakeholders met in Phnom Penh for the two-day meeting on Thursday and Friday. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen opened the meeting, which was the first major GAVI Alliance event held in South Asia since its 2009 partners' forum took place in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Since 2007, Asian countries including Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia protected more than 25 million children against potential fatal diseases by introducing the measles vaccine and the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine with the support of GAVI.

In October, the measles vaccine was replaced with a two-in-one measles and rubella vaccine. Cambodia's health ministry is taking steps to make sure all children, especially the hardest to reach, will receive vaccinations in each village, commune and district.

GAVI, also known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, launched in January 2000 to fund vaccines for children in more than 70 of the poorest countries in the world. GAVI pulls together the specialist skills of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and other partners to meet its goal of increasing immunization in the world's poorest nations to protect people's health and save children's lives.