Only four days after Yemi Adetumobi gave birth to her daughter in Akure, Nigeria, she noticed her child’s chest heaving uncontrollably. She brought her to the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, where doctors diagnosed a case of severe pneumonia. “After two days, my daughter got better, and I was happy. But soon, I worried about her, because at times, I saw my daughter gasping, meaning she still had breathing problems,” Adetumobi recalled.
Thankfully, when the little girl turned nine months old, she received a measure of protection: the booster dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). Adetumobi remembers the immense relief she felt when her daughter was able to receive the rare vaccine, “Thank God for the PCV vaccine. My daughter overcame the pneumonia.”
Children in numerous countries face limited access to vaccines, including PCV immunization and other life-saving vaccines, due to inequitable healthcare access. In 2014, nearly 480 children per 100,000 in Nigeria died of pneumonia or other lower respiratory infections. Lack of immunizations for pneumonia and other diseases leads to many untimely deaths of children and broken hearts of their parents and families.
Thanks to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, that’s changing.
While access to healthcare remains unequal on a country-to-country basis, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance shines a beacon of hope. A global health partnership based in Geneva, Switzerland, Gavi’s mission is to increase access to vaccines in low-income countries, aligning with SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. They prevent diseases and save lives by immunizing millions of children per year and by providing funding and support for healthcare systems around the world. Following Gavi’s pneumococcal vaccine roll-out, there was a notable decrease in pneumonia cases in Nigeria and other African nations, providing relief to mothers like Yemi who had witnessed their children facing severe illness from preventable diseases.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gavi was instrumental in helping underserved populations access COVID vaccinations through the COVAX program. CAF America donors contributed over $24.67 million to Gavi’s COVID relief efforts, playing an important role in helping connect people to the COVID-19 vaccine at a critical time. In addition to these COVAX grants, CAF America helped facilitate over $23.29 million in donations to Gavi from 2017 to 2023, increasing funding for routine immunizations against rotavirus in Burkina Faso as well as to the pentavalent vaccine program in Benin (pentavalent immunizations patients against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Hib disease). Contributions also aided immunization programs for pentavalent, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and measles in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Niger, and Mauritania.
To continue supporting global good health and well-being, Gavi’s future strategy for 2021–2025 is centered on immunizing 300 million children globally with routine vaccines. This initiative aims to prevent 7–8 million deaths by reaching and protecting children who have not received any vaccines (zero-dose children) in underserved communities. In its dedication to ensure equitable access to life-saving vaccines for children in the world’s poorest countries, Gavi fosters sustainable immunization programs imperative to good health and well-being that positively impact both global health and socio-economic development.