The Covid-19 pandemic has had major collateral effects on health systems in Africa and Latin America. For this reason, the "la Caixa" Foundation, together with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and with the collaboration of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), maintains its agreement to continue deploying the pioneering child immunisation programme in areas where access to healthcare is difficult.
More than 7 million children in particularly vulnerable areas of Africa and Latin America have been vaccinated since the programme was launched in 2008. In total, more than 36 million euros have been raised between contributions from the "la Caixa" Foundation, donations received from companies, customers and employees, and micro-donations from the public. Through the matching fund formula, all donations received are multiplied by four. With the formula 1 = 4, for every euro donated, the "la Caixa" Foundation adds another euro and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation adds two euros more.
These contributions come from the more than 375,000 donors from all over Spain who make up the Child Vaccination Alliance led by the "la Caixa" Foundation. In addition, employees of the entity and more than 350,000 supportive citizens have made contributions through the micro-donations campaign.
Thanks to the total contribution donated to Gavi by the "la Caixa" Foundation, the donations received together with the Gavi Matching Fund of the Gates Foundation in 2020 and 2019 have covered 100% of the total budget for the pneumonia vaccine in Mozambique. This year, 2021, the destination of the funds raised has been extended to Ethiopia, one of the 5 countries with the highest number of child deaths from pneumonia.
"Global health and children continue to be a priority for the "la Caixa" Foundation. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that international cooperation is essential to avoid health collapse and to prevent avoidable diseases such as pneumonia. For this reason, we are redoubling our commitment", stressed Antonio Vila, Director General of the "la Caixa" Foundation.
"In the context of the pandemic, the importance of child immunisation in the world's poorest countries is accentuated, since if vaccination programmes continue to be suspended, we run the risk of adding to this, new outbreaks and potential new pandemics caused by diseases that we can prevent with vaccines. The collateral damage of the coronavirus may lead to an increase in child mortality for the first time in many years, and the deterioration in the health of a region or country will affect its economy and level of development," he said.
In response to the global pandemic, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, launched Gavi COVAX AMC, an innovative new financial instrument launched by Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley at the Global Vaccine Summit to accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines to fight the pandemic in developing countries.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public-private partnership that brings together developing countries with donors, including governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other private sector partners, including the "la Caixa" Foundation as the lead foundation in Spain.
The special feature of the "la Caixa" Foundation's Child Vaccination Alliance is the involvement of CaixaBank's customers, both companies and individuals, in a pioneering corporate social responsibility project in Europe. The Child Vaccination Alliance has the commitment of the CaixaBank Empresas and CaixaBank Banca Privada teams, as well as its entire branch network, which are key to dissemination and fundraising.
To this end, CaixaBank Empresas is working hard to raise awareness among its customers, offering them the opportunity to contribute to access to and quality of vaccines in developing countries, as a social responsibility action that allows them to give back to society part of what they have received from it. For its part, CaixaBank Banca Privada promotes support for Gavi within the framework of its Social Value Project, which responds to and encourages the philanthropic concerns of its customers.
La Caixa" Foundation has reached a total of 10 countries in Africa and Latin America, including Bolivia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Nicaragua, Central African Republic, Sudan and Tanzania. In recent years, the "la Caixa" Foundation has focused especially on Mozambique with the pneumococcal vaccine against pneumonia, which is currently the leading cause of infant mortality in the country.
Gavi was chosen as the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation out of 34 candidates competing for the award.
Every 60 seconds, three children die from diseases that could have been prevented with the right vaccines, according to the World Health Organization. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, was founded in 2000 to prevent this, because immunisation is the most effective way to contribute to global health and can ensure survival, the first right of childhood.
It is estimated that for every $1 invested in immunisation in the 73 countries where Gavi is active, $21 is saved in healthcare costs, lost wages and productivity. Child mortality has been halved since 1990. The introduction of new vaccines, as well as increased coverage with existing vaccines, has accelerated the reduction in under-five mortality to a rate of -3.6% per year today.
Thus, the "la Caixa" Foundation's partnership with Gavi contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda, specifically Goal 3, to achieve the health and well-being goals, and Goal 17, to build partnerships to achieve goals.