Nature News examines GAVI Alliance's multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall ahead of a donors meeting in The Hague on March 25-26. The meeting, which marks "the first time that the global-health partnership, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has brought together all of its major donors — countries and philanthropic organizations — at a single fund-raising event," also demonstrates "the current woes at the organization, which since its creation in 2000 has taken vaccination rates in low-income countries to record highs," the news service writes.
After immunizing more than 250 million children over the past decade, GAVI "risks becoming a victim of its own success, with demand for its immunization efforts outstripping donor contributions just as the financial crisis has begun to bite," Nature News writes. "GAVI documents show that its projected spending for 2010-15 is US$7 billion, which, given existing and promised donations, leaves a $4.3-billion shortfall. If existing donors maintain their funding at current levels, the shortfall would shrink by $1.7 billion, leaving enough money to maintain existing programmes. But GAVI's future initiatives," such as distribution of vaccines to prevent pneumonia and rotavirus to children in need, "would stall," according to Nature News.
The article examines several ideas for boosting funding commitments and looks at the potential for additional money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its 10-year, $10 billion investment for researching, developing and distributing vaccines. The article also notes that President Barack Obama's FY 2011 budget request "includes a modest increase in GAVI funding, from $78 million to $90 million."
The piece includes comments by Daniel Berman, deputy director of the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign at Medecins San Frontieres, who describes GAVI's budget shortfall as an opportunity for the group to encourage vaccine makers to further lower their prices. It also includes testimony from Gates Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates, who discussed the value in investing in GAVI before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week (Butler, 3/16).