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Keyword: global health

Judging from a recent slew of national announcements and media coverage, it sure looks like 2011 is going to be an exciting year for pneumococcal vaccine access. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve gotten emails and read articles from literally every corner of the world in which people are getting ready to introduce pneumococcal vaccines.

First, it was an email from a former colleague at IVAC who is now working in Mali and reported that the government has started training field workers to deliver pneumococcal conjugate vaccine beginning this year. Then it was an email about efforts to publicize the launch of the vaccine in Sierra Leone and an email from a colleague in Kenya where they had just started vaccinating at his local clinic.

Below is a really nice profile by the Baltimore Sun of our work at IVAC with kind words of recognition from our colleagues at the GAVI Alliance & a few relevant press announcements from newly introducing countries from Pakistan to Qatar to Chile & New Zealand.

Baltimore center leads fight to provide vaccines to world's children
IVAC hopes to save the lives of 5 million children over next 20 years. By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun, January 21, 2011.,0,7297449.story

Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in routine immunization endorsed (Pakistan)

Vaccine to reduce mortality among kids

Chile, NZ to use GSK pneumococcal vaccine

Welcome to the brand-new IVAC Blog! We’re pleased to launch this forum where experts, policymakers, advocates, students and other impassioned individuals can share ideas, thoughts and analysis on the latest in global health and vaccine access.

As students and practitioners of public health know well, delivering health interventions is often just as important as discovering them. Despite advances in science that allow us to prevent the world’s deadliest infections, those advances will never bear fruit in a majority of the world’s countries without the evidence base to prove the need, backed up by an advocacy effort that spurs decision makers to act. 

It was this compelling need that inspired the establishment of IVAC at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health just one year ago.

Simply put, IVAC is dedicated to ensuring that safe and effective vaccines reach those who need them most—like children in developing countries, where the disease burden is high and health interventions are tremendously scarce. Though great strides have been made in recent years to fund and improve vaccine delivery in the world’s last-mile communities, there is much work left to be done—and there are many barriers to implementation that remain stubbornly intact. 

Being housed at the Bloomberg School of Public Health allows IVAC to draw upon the tremendous expertise of the faculty as well as other scientific and policy leaders in building the credible case for expanding vaccine access. Our projects are made possible through grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, the US Centers for Disease Control and others and we partner with international organizations, in-country advocates, industry leaders, civil society and others to ensure smart collaboration and accelerate progress. 

Thanks to the work of IVAC and our partners, nearly 50 developing countries have introduced Hib vaccines in the past decade, protecting millions of children and millions more will be protected in the years ahead from pneumococcal and other diseases. For us at IVAC, our aim is to do the same with other vaccines for diseases that claim the lives of children unnecessarily.

The IVAC Blog launches at a particularly important time for its mission. At Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, our third-annual Vaccine Day is tomorrow, Friday, October 29—and globally, the second-annual World Pneumonia Day will take place November 12. We invite you to participate in both events so that we can continue to find innovative and sustainable ways to deliver lifesaving vaccines to children who need them.

As any global health organization knows, the breakthrough in the lab is only half the battle. To be effective, we always need to know what works on the ground and what doesn’t. So please use the comments section to share your thoughts and ideas and highlight the topics and resources you’d like to read and discover in this blog.

--Dr. Orin Levine

Jan 2011