Canadian Leadership in Immunization

In preparation for World Immunization Week, and as Canada prepares to host the world’s largest conference on the health, rights and well-being of women and girls in June 2019, Women Deliver, CanWaCH’s Acting Executive Director, Julia Anderson, recently sat down Gavi Deputy CEO, Anuradha Gupta, and award-winning journalist Kimothy Walker for an in-depth conversation about the role that vaccination plays in Canada’s global leadership in women and children’s health. 

Vaccines help to dramatically reduce maternal and child deaths with immunization being one of the main reasons why the mortality rate of children under-five has been cut in half since 1990. Gavi has played a major role in this progress through its unique public-private partnership between countries, private donors, vaccine manufacturers and implementing partners in developing countries. 

To date, Canada has provided more than one billion dollars in funding in support of Gavi. Canadian investments in this type of mechanism have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and afforded women and children around the world the opportunity to thrive. 

Today, many Canadians take for granted that they no longer have to worry about diseases such as diphtheria. Yet, in light of conflicts and vast population migration, global health security remains a challenge for governments around the globe. Childhood immunization coverage worldwide is an important component for tackling this global health issue with vaccination essential in preventing and controlling global outbreaks. 

Immunization plays an important role in achieving gender equality and empowering girls and women because high childhood immunization coverage reduces diseases that often keep women and girls in poverty. 

As a part of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada, CanWaCH is mobilizing with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast to call on decision-makers to commit to long-term sustainable and increased health investments, such as vaccination programs, to fill critical gaps in health systems around the world. 

Additionally, the Canadian global health community has collectively developed the Thrive Agenda - a bold vision for the future of women and children’s health. The last couple of decades has seen tremendous progress in world vaccination efforts, but that work is not done. We must maintain our momentum and continue our work to improve women and children’s health beyond 2020. Now is the time to take action - Lead on Canada!