The GAVI Alliance, initially named the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, was created in 2000. GAVIs stated mission is to save childrens lives and protect peoples health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. The founding members of the alliance include the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank Group. The partnership includes many other players: developed and developing country governments, research and technical institutes, the vaccine industry in both the developed and developing world, and civil society organizations.
Since its creation, GAVI estimates that it has prevented 3.4 million deaths, protected 50.9 million children with basic vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP-3), and protected 213 million children with new vaccines and through expanding the use of underused vaccines. It has currently approved $3.7 billion in funding for 75 countries, including future commitments through 2015.
The GAVI Alliance is a complex entity consisting of several components:
- The GAVI Alliances board of directors sets strategic vision and direction, makes high-level policy decisions, and approves support for country immunization programs. It is comprised of representatives from multilateral development agencies, donors, developing country governments, civil society representatives, and the academic community.
- The GAVI Fund accepts donations and provides funding. It was established as a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to support immunization in developing countries, including support of the GAVI Alliance.
- As described later, the Alliance and Fund plan to merge in 2009 as a Swiss foundation.
- The International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm) borrows against legally binding aid commitments by donor governments so that funds can be disbursed with optimal timing. The IFFIm, launched in 2006 as a separate entity, was established as a charity in the U.K.
- The GAVI Board is supported by a Secretariat, responsible for day-to-day operations of the Alliance and with offices in Geneva and Washington, D.C. The Secretariat also supports the board of the IFFIm.
GAVIs development and use of innovative mechanisms to fund immunization, along with the evolution of this partnership from informal to more formal status, are aspects of GAVIs functioning most relevant to the current study.