Helping Solve Inequalities
Organizations (groups) from all around the world are helping to fight global inequalities in childhood immunization. Before learning about what these organizations are doing, it is helpful to first understand the different types of organizations and why they exist.
Government and Governmental Organizations – These organizations are part of a government. Government is the system/organization that has the ability to decide on laws, and make sure that those laws are followed. This means that different governments can have different laws, and different ways to decide on those laws. The level of government we’ll be talking about is at the national level (the whole country), instead of the provincial (provinces and territories) or municipal (cities and towns) level. For example, the Government of Canada is the national level government in Canada where they decide on laws that should apply to everyone in Canada (whereas the Government of British Columbia deals with laws that only apply to people in British Columbia).
For-Profit Organizations – These organizations exist to make money for the owners of that organization These include corporations and companies. They are called “for-profit” because they work to make profits but also may help with donating some of their money to help others through an organization like UNICEF. Examples of companies are Apple, Facebook and IKEA.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) – These organizations are non-profit organizations that do not try to make a profit and exist to try to achieve a goal that benefits the public. For example, their goal could be to help the environment, or help the homeless, or help vaccinate children! Examples include the Red Cross, Oxfam, Free the Children and Doctors Without Borders.
Inter-Governmental Organizations – These organizations are mostly made up of many different governments working together. The United Nations, UNICEF, the WHO and the World Food Program are examples of inter-governmental organizations.
Public-Private Partnerships – A public–private partnership is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors, typically of a long-term nature. This is an organization that is made up of groups from any of the above types of organizations. An example of a public-private partnership is Gavi (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations).
There are many organizations from all of these different types involved in helping fight global inequalities in childhood immunization. Let’s look at some of the largest global organizations involved:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is part of the United Nations and is an Inter-Governmental Organization. Their goal is to keep people healthy.
UNICEF is also part of the United Nations, and is an Inter-Governmental Organization. Their goal is to help children around the world.
Gavi, (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) is a public-private Partnership that brings together government, NGOs, for-profit companies, and inter-governmental organizations (including the Canadian government, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO, the World Bank, and others). Their goal is to help children get equal access to vaccines, particularly in the world’s poorest countries.
As you can see, these organizations all have similar overall goals - building a healthier future for all - and have the shared goal of creating equal access to vaccines for children. By working together, these groups have been able to immunize more children than ever before. However, with millions of children worldwide still not fully protected with the most basic vaccines, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Here are just some examples of the work that they do:
- They help research new vaccines that can be made cheaper, faster and safer
- They fundraise and increase partnerships so that more money is available for vaccinating children
- They help governments get quality vaccines in the right place, the right price, and the right time
- They buy vaccines. UNICEF is the largest vaccine buyer and immunizes 1/3rd of all children in the world, UNICEF is able to negotiate cheaper vaccine prices with the companies that make them
- They provide training to health workers
Watch the video from Gavi, UNICEF and the WHO to learn more about these organizations and their work:
Recall how poverty and lack of funding can cause unequal access to vaccines - and once people are stuck in the poverty trap, it can make people even poorer. The good news is that the opposite is also true. When organizations such as UNICEF, Gavi, and the local government spend $1 on vaccines in developing countries, the economic return is about $16. This is because by spending $1 on vaccines, people don't get as sick, hospitals don't have as many patients, and there is less need for other medicines. Since people are less sick, they can work and earn more money. Put it all together, and that means by spending $1 on vaccines, the country can benefit $16!
By earning vaccines for children in need through Kids Boost Immunity, you, along with other students across Canada, are also helping to ensure children around the world are protected by vaccines. So, thank you for really helping to decrease inequalities in childhood immunization.
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