Boston, MA -- The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was created in 1999 with the goal of enabling even the poorest countries to provide vaccines to all children. A study by researchers associated with the Harvard Initiative for Global Health set out to measure the extent to which GAVI funding had succeeded in raising the percentage of children who received the combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) and whether the cost had been close to GAVI's original estimates of $20 per additional child immunized.
Their analysis appears in advance online in the September 21, 2006 issue of the Lancet, www.thelancet.com.
GAVI is a public-private global health partnership that was created when vaccine coverage in many countries was dropping. Countries with a gross national income of less than US$1000 per capita per year and with coverage under 80% were eligible to receive financial support from GAVI to develop immunization services, including personnel, infrastructure and supplies, as part of their national health system. Decisions on how resources are spent are left to the individual countries, but continued authorization of funding is tied to meeting yearly immunization coverage targets set by the countries.
Research Associate Chunling Lu and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) analyzed the relationship between DTP3 coverage for GAVI recipient countries from 1995 to 2004 and immunization services spending (ISS) per surviving child in 53 countries. The analysis revealed that in countries with DTP3 coverage of 65% or less at the start of the program, ISS spending had a significant positive effect on DTP3 coverage, raising coverage from under 50% in many countries to close to 65%.
However, in countries with initial DTP3 coverage of more than 65%, GAVI spending did not translate into increased immunization coverage.