Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

WHO’s role in global partnerships to protect more people with lifesaving vaccines

100 millionth person reached with MenAfriVac® vaccine

In the lead up to the GAVI Board Meeting (3-4 December) and the GAVI Partners’ Forum (5-7 December) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, WHO and partners announced that the 100 millionth person has been vaccinated with MenAfriVac® vaccine, which took place in northern Nigeria, part of Africa’s "meningitis belt". Twenty-six countries are located within the meningitis belt, from Senegal to Ethiopia, where epidemic meningitis is a public health problem.

"This milestone has been achieved thanks to the commitment of national governments and support from WHO and other partners. We must continue our efforts to implement vaccination campaigns in the remaining meningitis belt countries and ensure widespread uptake of the MenAfriVac® vaccine."

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General of
Family, Women’s and Children’s Health

In 2001, PATH and WHO formed the Meningitis Vaccine Project to develop a vaccine that would tackle the meningococcus strain that causes meningitis A at a price that African countries could afford. Historically, new vaccines have either not been designed to cover variants of diseases found in developing countries or have been too expensive for developing countries to include in their immunisation schedules. The partners worked with the Serum Institute of India Ltd. to develop and manufacture the vaccine at a cost of less than US$0.50 per dose.

WHO’s participation in the GAVI board meeting and Partners’ Forum

Dr Flavia Bustreo, represented WHO on the GAVI board and at the GAVI Partners’ Forum where she highlighted the need to establish equity in access to vaccines by focusing on every child, every community and every woman and the critical gains that can be achieved with integrated service delivery of vaccines with available effective commodities in further combatting pneumonia and diarrhea and reducing under-five mortality.

The theme of the Partners' Forum was RISE - Results, Innovation, Sustainability and Equity. For more details on each day’s discussion, visit

Summary of Day 1: Wednesday, 5 December

Press conference at the GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum

The first day of the forum was rich in discussion about results, innovations in immunisation services delivery, the sustainability of vaccine investments and the importance of equity.

The sessions focused on the sustainability of vaccine investments by showing the benefits of vaccines in broader development objectives. The WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and health in 2001 found that attendance in school and work is greatly impacted by better health and the World Development report of 1993 found that EPI programs are the most cost-effective public health intervention.

Summary of Day 2: Thursday, 6 December

WHO representatives shared their perspectives on how to support health service delivery in fragile Environments and emergency situations. The discussion clearly highlighted the need for tailored approaches in fragile countries and welcomed the new policy adopted by the GAVI Board to adapt its processes to particular country contexts.

Summary of Day 3: Friday, 7 December 2012

Dr Flavia Bustreo with Mrs Graça Machel at the GAVI Alliance Partners' Forum 2012

The final day of the Partners’ Forum ended with the strong message that innovation needs to be actively encouraged and facilitated. Equitable access to immunisation and particularly the role of relevant partners in achieving equity were the topics of several panels and a plenary session. In the closing plenary session, Dr Bustreo, discussed the importance of nurturing the Alliance. Caring for our partnerships is essential to the sustainability of the GAVI family and its impact.

“We can use vaccines as the edge of a movement that will improve the health of every woman and child. We have heard the message loud and clear,” she added. “It is important to go that last mile to reach the last child in remote communities, to have the ability to identify where that child lives, when they are born, to register them. Globalised equity means every child every woman everywhere.”

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General of
Family, Women’s and Children’s Health

Related links

More information on the GAVI board, visit:
More information on the Partners’ Forum, visit:

WHO is the United Nations specialized agency for health and a founding partner of the GAVI Alliance. GAVI depends on WHO's guidance on technical issues for the framing of its funding policies.

WHO also plays a key role in supporting countries both in preparing their applications for GAVI funding and in the subsequent implementation and monitoring of activities.