RESULTS Australia’s Global Health Consultant, Murray Proctor, is in Lao PDR on a parliamentary delegation to explore what Australia’s aid program is achieving in terms of health outcomes in the country. With him are a number of Australian MPs and Senators, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) representatives, partners from the Global Poverty Project and the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund, and a media team from Channel 9. This is Murray’s last post. Click on the links below to follow their journey.
- One year on, HPV vaccines protecting Lao girls
- Vaccinations in rural Lao PDR
- Saving lives in Laos
- Why the HPV vaccine is so important in Laos
5. The broader Australian engagement with Gavi
The parliamentary visit to Laos has ended. As I reflect on the last few days, one thing really stands out for me:
Australia is lucky to have strong bipartisan support for effective aid – and in particular Gavi. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop in particular has made this clear:
“I am really impressed with the change in thinking of a number of multi-lateral organisations. GAVI for example, its international finance facility for immunisation is using capital markets to create new funding for its work…… That is the kind of thinking we need…. because ultimately our overseas aid is an investment in our region, an investment in the people, an investment in the future and we expect sold returns from that investment.”
This week members of the Liberal National coalition and the Labor and the Greens parties have demonstrated this commitment by coming on this delegation sponsored by Gavi.
All the people who attended this delegation, and were graciously hosted by Lao PDR, were here because they care about saving children’s lives. Of course they also need to see that aid funds are being well used. We saw that in the cost-effective vaccination of newborns and children for a variety of diseases, including polio and tetanus. And in commencing coverage against the human papillomavirus.
The impact of Gavi is certainly demonstrated in the initiatives we have seen here in Laos.
Globally of course, 1 in 5 children born each year still do not have access to the most basic vaccines. And an appalling 1.5 million children die each year of vaccine preventable diseases.
But this changing. Gavi has supported the immunisation of almost half a billion children already.
Millions of lives have been saved. More can be. Gavi needs Australia’s support to vaccinate a further 300 million people in the period 2016-2020. Children around the world need continuing funding by governments to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Photo credit: Michael Sheldrick