About how the vaccine-organization GAVI has saved five million lives. And how you cheaply and without much effort can save a child!
GAVI has now prevented five million child-deaths. It’s an estimation of course, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to doubt it. The numbers of how many children in different parts of the world they have vaccinated against the different diseases are easy to get about right, and it’s possible to estimate fairly accurately how many children you have to vaccinate in a certain region against a certain disease in order to save a life. GAVI is a professional and trustworthy organization, and so are The World Health Organization and UNICEF who do the estimates.
I guess my readers know how much five million is, but just to make sure:
- It’s fifty times the number of documented civilian deaths from the Iraq war.
- It’s more than the whole population of Norway.
- It’s twice the amount of seconds in a month.
What’s remarkable is how little money that has been needed to achieve this. Between their startup in 1999-2000 and 2009 they recieved under four and a half billion dollars in funding. Some of this money has been spent on research that hasn’t saved lives yet, and I would assume other parts of it hasn’t been spent at all, but even when not taking this into account they have spent less then 900 dollars per life saved.
Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways we can combat child mortality. And for reasons I will explain in later posts it’s also a contribution in the fight against poverty. We should be happy that vaccines are saving the life of children, but still 2.4 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year. GAVI is getting more funding, but not enough to vaccinate all the children that should be vaccinated. With enough funding they would be able to fight against diseases they haven’t adressed yet, like pneumonia and diarrhea. A vaccination against malaria is underway, and when it comes we need to make sure that money isn’t an issue. And we need to fund more research on vaccines, so that we as soon as possible can get a vaccine against diseases such as HIV/aids.
As whole the world spends over 1400 billion dollars a year on the military. In 2006 alone the rich countries spent over 260 billion dollars on farm subsidies. If we made it a priority we could easily make sure that providing poor countries with vaccines wasn’t a question of money, but since we haven’t millions children die because they lack vheap vaccines.
Unacceptable? Then why not take the matter into you own hands, and donate to GAVI yourself? You don’t have to sell your house, but what about setting aside a few thousand dollars so that you can save a few lives? 😉
(PS: My Norwegian readers might take interest in knowing that our support to GAVI between the upstart of the organization and 2009 accounts for 10 percent of the total funding. And that’s when we only take into account the money we give directly, and not the money to organizations that again support GAVI (like IFFIm). Since we have provided roughly 10 percent of the funding, and although our share of the total funding over the years have varied some, it’s fair to say that we can thank Norwegian aid for roughly 10 percent of the total results GAVI has achieved. In other words: Norways support to GAVI has 500 000 lives, only 80 000 less than the population of Oslo. When 13 workers died in the building of a hydro-power plant financed by Norwegian aid it made the headlines, and was even covered on the frontpage of dagbladet.no. Why doesn’t this make it into the newspapers?)