With the aim of improving the health of millions in developing countries, the EU is more than doubling its funding for vaccines and immunisation worldwide.
1.5 million children die each year from diseases which could be prevented by a simple vaccine. This is why the EU is increasing its funding for 2014-20 to €25m per year, up from around €10m in previous years.
The funds will help the GAVI Alliance - a non-profit organisation focused on increasing access to immunisation - protect millions more children against deadly diseases in the world's poorest countries.
The organisation represents all the key players in global immunisation, from donor governments and health authorities, to civil society, the vaccine industry and private companies.
Support for each country is tailored to their needs, and - using the strengths of its members - the GAVI alliance can aggregate the demand from each country and therefore guarantee predictable, long-term funding. This will further bring down prices to ensure the maximum number of children benefit from lifesaving vaccines.
African, Caribbean and Pacific countries account for about two thirds of funding provided, and thanks to donors like the EU, nearly half a billion children have been immunised since 2000, resulting in some 6 million lives saved.
GAVI Alliance funding supports 11 vaccines, including those against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus - the leading vaccine-preventable causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea - and human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.
EU funding for healthcare
The GAVI mission is closely aligned with the EU’s development policy, which is to reduce poverty and help reach the UN's Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
To improve overall conditions and build effective and sustainable health systems in developing countries, the EU also acts in other healthcare sectors such as nutrition, water and sanitation, and road safety.
In addition to healthcare funding managed through the European Development Fund and the Development Cooperation Instrument, the EU has set up a programme to deal with cross-border health issues, such as contagious disease control - the Global Public Goods and Challenges programme .
Since 2004, EU healthcare support has helped immunise 18.3 million children under 1 year old against measles; over 8,500 health centres have been built, renovated or furnished, and 17 million consultations on reproductive health have taken place.