Development assistance for vaccination efforts in low- and middle-income countries grew from $822 million in 2000 to $3.6 billion in 2014, according to new findings published in Health Affairs. The increase in funding was largely attributed to the international nonprofit organization Gavi Alliance, among other active partners.
In 2012, governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders developed the Global Vaccine Action Plan to finance and expand vaccination coverage to every child, no matter where they are, by 2020. To assess the plan’s progress, Joseph L. Dieleman, PhD, an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington, and colleagues tracked funds that were used to improve immunization in low- and middle-income countries from 2000 to 2014 using estimates compiled at the IHME.
According to Dieleman and colleagues, donors provided an estimated $3.6 billion in development assistance for vaccination in low- and middle-income countries in 2014, compared with $2.6 billion in 2010 and $822 million in 2000. Financial assistance for vaccination grew 12.3% annually from 2000 to 2010 in these countries, but slowed to 8.3% per year from 2010 to 2014. However, total development assistance for health stagnated during the last four years of the study period, growing just 1.4% annually. Despite this stagnation, development assistance for vaccination continues to grow, the researchers said.
The successful expansion of vaccination coverage in low- and middle-income countries over the years has been “bolstered by an array of initiatives, development assistance partners and governments,” according to the IHME researchers. However, increases in development assistance from 2000 to 2014 were chiefly driven by Gavi, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as its primary source of funding. In total, Gavi contributed $1.7 billion for vaccination in the developing world in 2014. The U.S. government constituted the next-largest funding source in support of vaccination, the researchers said, offering $555.1 million that same year.
Figure 1. Annualized increase in development assistance.
Source: ©2016 Health Affairs
Dieleman and colleagues also wrote that the sources of funding for vaccination efforts in low- and middle-income countries are much more diversified than in other areas of health. For example, no single source provided more than 26.7% of the total funds in 2014, whereas development assistance for HIV/AIDS was primarily supported by the United States (63.9%).
Further analysis suggested that the top four recipients of development assistance — Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan — also had the highest burden of vaccine-preventable disease. The majority of the other 20 countries in greatest need of assistance, however, are not among those sharing in the greatest disbursement of funds.
According to the researchers, these data will help development assistance partners identify gaps in funding and direct financial support for vaccination where it is needed most.
“The continued increases in development assistance for vaccination are encouraging signs that the goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan could be realized through increased financing for the expansion of vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries,” Dieleman and colleagues wrote.
Global Vaccine Action Plan, 2011-2020. http://www.who.int/immunization/global_vaccine_action_plan/GVAP_doc_2011_2020/en. Accessed February 5, 2016.
Disclosure: The study was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.