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Pfizer Foundation Provides $2 Million In Grants To Support ‘Last-Mile’ Vaccine Coverage In Africa

  • Efforts in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 to reduce under-5 child mortality rate.
  • Programs designed to reach children in remote locations in five African countries.
Friday, September 19, 2014 - 8:00am
EDT

The Pfizer Foundation today announced $2 million in grant funding for pilot programs to improve immunization coverage in Africa. The programs will focus on ‘last-mile’ interventions to reach underserved populations living in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

Grant recipients include UNICEF, Save the Children and International Rescue Committee. The grants will focus on building the capacity of health care systems within the five countries to ensure that efficient and sustainable vaccine supplies are available to reach children who need access to vaccines.

Interventions include mobile platforms for vaccinations, which provide health workers with mobile phones and solar-powered tablets to register children born in a clinic area and help track vaccination schedules in real time. Other interventions include short-message service (SMS) systems, which will be used to monitor vaccines and equipment to identify bottlenecks in the supply chain and prevent stock outs.

“We are proud to partner with the Pfizer Foundation on this important initiative,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “The Pfizer Foundation’s support will help UNICEF ensure that the hardest to reach, most vulnerable children will receive vaccinations, in order to protect them from preventable and deadly diseases.”

As various sectors around the world continue to work on achieving the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations (U.N.), the latest U.N. secretary-general report card suggests efforts are still needed to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, reducing the under-5 child mortality and improving maternal health, respectively.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.5 million children under 5 years of age still die from diseases that are preventable by vaccination every year.i In 2011, immunization coverage in Africa was estimated at 77 percent, yet almost all unimmunized children had no access to vaccines.ii

“These grants will work to support our global efforts to reach more patients with lifesaving and enhancing vaccines,” said Caroline Roan, president, Pfizer Foundation. “The Pfizer Foundation has a long history of working with partners to seek to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to quality health care, furthering our mission to promote access for all.”

While the number of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped by 39 percent since 1990, in most African countries progress is not fast enough to meet MDG targets.iii The post-2015 development agenda and proposed successor goals to the MDGs (sustainable development goals or SDGs) capture these needs, and also call for achieving access to health services and to essential, quality medicines and vaccines.

“Infrastructure challenges, security concerns and capacity limitations, among others, continue to be obstacles for last-mile health care delivery, including getting medicines and vaccines to people who need them, when they need them,” said Susan Silbermann, president, Pfizer Vaccines. “There are still 18,000 children who die every day from vaccine-preventable diseases. These grants are designed to help address these critical ‘last-mile’ challenges and reinforce the Pfizer Foundation’s commitment to ensuring access to quality health care.”

 

About Pfizer Foundation

The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. The Foundation is a separate and independent tax-exempt organization. The Foundation’s mission is to promote access to quality health care, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer people.

 

i WHO - Global Immunization Data 2014 http://who.int/immunization/newsroom/global_immunization_data_july_2014.pdf Accessed September 10, 2014.

ii African Leaders Commit to Ending Preventable Maternal, Newborn and Child Deaths on the Continent http://www.carmma.org/event/african-leaders-commit-ending-preventable-maternal-newborn-and-child-deaths-continent Accessed September 3, 2014.

iii Ibid.