GAVI, Education Above All Partner to Improve Childhood Immunization

GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and the Doha-based Education Above All Foundation have announced a multimillion-dollar partnership to improve immunization rates for children in hard-to-reach communities in Africa and Asia.

Through the initiative, EAA and GAVI will work to identify communities where large numbers of children are not in school and vaccination rates are low, then develop a joint community outreach strategy to improve those rates. The effort targets the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 17, which aim to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

While vaccination rates have improved in recent years, nineteen million poor and vulnerable children in 2015 did not receive a full course of the basic vaccines needed to stay healthy. Because of illness, many of these children are unable to attend or are not enrolled in school, or have dropped out of the education system altogether.

"[O]verwhelming evidence demonstrates the benefits of immunization as one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions," said GAVI board chair Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. "Minimizing the burden of illness through immunization will positively affect a child's ability to attend school and attain high education levels."

"Education plays a crucial role in raising awareness of health challenges and shaping the attitudes and behaviors that can make a difference, " said GAVI chief executive Seth Berkley. "We look forward to working closely with Education Above All Foundation to strengthen our immunization efforts in GAVI-supported countries."