Skip to main content

GAVI Alliance

Volume 579: debated on Wednesday 9 April 2014

3. What recent steps she has taken to ensure the future funding and effectiveness of the GAVI Alliance. [R] (903615)

The UK is the largest donor to GAVI. Our support will help fully immunise nearly 80 million children and save around 1.3 million lives during 2011-15. We are working closely with GAVI and partners to ensure that their 2016-20 strategy, currently being developed, provides a sound and cost-effective basis for delivering their mission and saving children’s lives.

May I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests? To reach every child with immunisation requires not only vaccines but staff. Do the Government support the GAVI 15% to 25% spending target on health strengthening in the international community?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that, because strengthening health systems and the capacity of health workers is a key answer in addressing the immunisation deficit.

I proudly congratulate the Government on spending 0.7% of national income on eradicating poverty worldwide, much of it on polio eradication. The last three countries with endemic polio all have significant Islamic populations. Is the Department committed to working with religious and Islamic leaders to try to build community support for polio eradication and to protect health workers in those countries?

My hon. Friend raises the issue of the frustrating endgame on polio. GAVI will play a major role in delivering that endgame, but we are working with everyone to try to ensure that vaccinations are seen as good and not some kind of problem.

I declare an arrangement, as I went to Cambodia with Results UK to see the GAVI-funded programme there. I am told that the Government put in £860 million, which raises questions about the future. Will the Government make a commitment to maintaining that level of funding in future for GAVI, which runs a wonderful project?

Right now, GAVI has not stated what its actual target is. We are the largest donor at 33%, and we will continue to support it. We will make a decision in the next few months.

Does the Minister agree that vaccination assistance and the partnership with the Gates Foundation is not only the right thing to do but one of the best ways to help developing economies? It is also something we should sell and explain to the general public.

My hon. Friend is entirely right. The economic benefits are huge, and vaccination is considered a development “best buy”. The Gates Foundation is at the forefront of that, and we work very closely indeed with it.