Taking action at the 69th United Nations General Assembly

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Gavi Champion/Photo: Ben Fisher/Gavi
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Gavi Champion/Photo: Ben Fisher/Gavi

Global health events throughout General Assembly week featured Gavi leadership and highlighted the impact of immunization

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Global health, including child immunisation, was among the key areas of focus during events at the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations, with senior leadership of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance speaking at events throughout the week.Liberia hosts Gavi side eventThe Mission of Liberia hosted a discussion on child vaccination at the United Nations on Thursday. The event, “Reach every child: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; inspiring innovation,” focused on the importance of immunisation and health system strengthening in the global effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths.

Due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Gavi champion, was unable to attend the event in person. Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, also a Gavi champion, welcomed guests on her behalf, noting President Johnson Sirleaf’s strength and leadership during this time of suffering.

Canadian  Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his address to the UN General Assembly underscored Gavi’s success in saving children’s lives – an important part of his government’s priority of reducing preventable deaths in developing countries. In reference to Canada’s May summit on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), Harper pointed to “the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, and how during the three year period between 2010 and 2013, immunisations saved the lives of two million children.” At the summit – building on the 2010 Muskoka Initiative – Canada pledged to invest C$3.5 billion (about US$ 3.2 billion) between 2015-2020 in three MNCH priority areas: strengthening health systems, improving nutrition and reducing the burden of leading diseases, which Harper said includes stepping up child immunisation. Overall, Canada to date has invested about US$ 472.4 million in Gavi.