Two and a half years on from a landmark €3 billion fundraising conference in 2011, the value of vaccines is back in the spotlight. Through a combination of funding pledges donors and lower prices for vaccines, the agreement promised to immunise 250 million children against life-threatening illnesses.
On October 30 at a meeting in Stockholm, the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership dedicated to delivering vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, will bring together experts from the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as high-level figures from governments, industry and civil society.
The knock-on effect of preventing diseases can be seen in the educational performance of children and the impact this has on their families and communities.
Children who get sick less often do better at school: they attend more classes and achieve better results in tests, according to the GAVI Alliance. Higher achievement at school leads to better employment prospects and the chance to earn more in adult life.
There are short-term economic benefits for families too. Because children are healthier, their parents and carers spend less time nursing them through sickness. This has direct benefits in terms of ability to work inside and outside the home.
People who work more are able to contribute more to household incomes. “Less time spent caring for sick children means as much as $1 billion more available over a decade for families in low and middle income countries to spend or save.”
This in turn gives rise to more prosperous communities, increasing spending and savings rates, and contributing to greater national economic growth.
GAVI estimates that over the current decade, lower care costs for health systems and for families could save up to $6 billion in treatment costs.
Watch: The value of vaccines in the developing world