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By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Seth Franklin Berkley, CEO of GAVI, is a medical epidemiologist by training and a global advocate on the power of vaccines. Seth has been featured on the cover of Newsweek and recognized by Wired Magazine as among "The Wired 25": a salute to dreamers, inventors, mavericks and leaders. Furthermore, TIME magazine mentions him as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2009. Seth Berkley joined the GAVI  as CEO in August 2011, as it launched its five-year strategy to immunize a quarter of a billion children in the developing world with life-saving vaccines by 2015. Rarely have I seen such a powerful combination of passion, humility and drive..... It was a pleasure to talk to him.

How does Gavi work?
Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a public-private global health partnership committed to protecting children’s health by increasing access to immunization and strengthening health systems in the world’s poorest countries. As a public-private partnership, GAVI represents all the key stakeholders in global immunization: implementing and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, civil society, the vaccine industry and private companies.

“Our force is warranting that our collaboration is a win-win for all involved.”

What are their core aims?
GAVI'S core aim is to provide new vaccines to children in poor countries. This powerful alliance is a model that is working extraordinarily well. Since 2000, the GAVI Alliance has helped immunize more than 500 million children, saving more than 7 million lives. Even with this success, 19 million children still do not receive a full course of the most basic vaccines each year, leading to 1.5 million preventable deaths. We are not rescuing but empowering, our model is designed as a viable approach that puts countries on the pathway to self-sufficiency. If the public and private sectors collectively seize the moment, we can accelerate progress toward a world where every child, everywhere, is fully immunized. And we all will be better for it.

What is your role at GAVI?
My role as I see is to make sure that everyone understands the power of vaccines and as we continue to support countries to introduce new vaccines, our focus is to increase coverage and equity to assure that we reach every child with these vaccines. With as many as 20 countries transitioning out of our financial support in this next 5 year period my team and I endeavor to guarantee that programs are sustainable in the long term. We are trying to reach the unreached and create one global society and it can happen.

“We are a global community; we need to care about all our people.”

How do they raise funds?
GAVI is funded through contributions by government donors and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as by innovative finance mechanisms such as IFFIm, the GAVI Matching Fund and the pneumococcal AMC. The money raised from investors helps fund GAVI programs to meet immediate country demand for vaccines. Thus guaranteeing a near-term positive impact on public health that reinforces and safeguards future generations. We work collaboratively on this program with investment banks, donor governments, the World Bank as IFFIm’s treasury manager and private investors. IFFIm has enabled GAVI to nearly double its spending on immunization. Our force is warranting that our collaboration is a win-win for all involved.

How does the IMD Alumni platform help to spread the word?
IMD is a prestigious platform with a similar aim to GAVI by that I mean changing the present for high-impact in the future. I sincerely believe it is our responsibility as business leaders, as parents and as a caring society that we invest our time, our money that will pay rich dividends now and in the future. To have the opportunity to come and talk at the IMD Alumni event gives exposure to GAVI’s goal. It is a wonderful opportunity and confirms that IMD sees leadership and responsibility go hand in hand.

“We are trying to reach the unreached and create one global society and it can happen.”

What can others do to help with their great cause?
Drawing on the individual strengths of its members, the GAVI Alliance model aggregates country demand, guarantees long-term, predictable funding and brings down prices, helping to ensure that generations of children in poor countries do not miss out on lifesaving, economy-boosting vaccines.

GAVI Alliance funding supports 12 vaccines, including those against pneumococcal disease and rota virus, the leading vaccine-preventable causes of pneumonia and diarrhea, and human papilloma virus, which cause cervical cancer. Countries can also request flexible support to address their health system strengthening (HSS) needs. Created in 2000, Gavi is an international organisation - a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

For more information on how to support their great cause go to Gavi: http://www.gavi.org/

Follow Seth on Twitter and check out the latest Tweets from Seth Berkley (@GaviSeth)

This article was originally published in the IMD newsletter

Sunita's Bio

sunitablogphoto nov2015

Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.

During her 25 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.

In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.

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