AT the end of a turbulent parliamentary-sitting year, where frayed nerves and policy differences have been on display, a little-known aid advocacy group called RESULTS worked quietly behind the scenes to bring together one hundred Federal politicians from all sides on an issue of great importance for the world’s children: immunisation.
In a seemingly unlikely “Coalition of the Willing”, parliamentarians have managed to agree on bi-partisan support for ongoing Australian support for an international immunisation fund called Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In the last 5 years, $250 million of foreign aid funding has been directed to Gavi.
Since 2000, Gavi has an impressive record of immunising half a billion children globally, including many in the poorest countries in Australia’s region, against killer diseases.
On that difficult final sitting day, on December 4, letters signed by politicians including Philip Ruddock, Tanya Plibersek, Nick Xenophon and Clive Palmer were presented to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s office before she potentially heads-off to an international donor pledging meeting for Gavi in the New Year.
“It’s in Australia’s interest to strongly support the roll-out of vaccines against pneumonia, rotavirus diarrhoea and cervical cancer and help to build the health services of our poor neighbours at the same time,” Ms Maree Nutt, CEO of RESULTS, said.
“It’s also wonderful to know that Australian researchers Ian Frazer and Ruth Bishop developed the cervical cancer and rotavirus vaccines that Gavi is now distributing to children across the globe.
“And thanks to Gavi’s ability to purchase vaccines in bulk, the vaccine for cervical cancer, which once cost $13, now only costs $4.50,” Maree added.
“When – not if – there is a vaccine for Ebola, Gavi has already signaled it will play a major role in its roll-out. We all look forward to that day,” Maree added.
“Australia can give no better gift this Christmas to the world’s children than protecting them against life-threatening diseases.”
Find out more about Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Image Source: Left: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Gavi CEO Seth Berkley supports RESULTS’s #Oz4Gavi campaign in December (Image Credit: RESULTS)