New Delhi: Prominent Indians from politics, sports, public health and media today came together to support the goal of increasing access to immunisation and reducing child mortality in the country.
India accounts for about 20 per cent of child deaths in the world and there are nearly 7 million unimmunised children across the country -- the largest in any country and one-third of all unimmunised children in the world.
The celebrities will work with GAVI Alliance, a public- private-partnership including the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as members of the GAVI Advisory Council in India.
They include Members of Parliament Baijayant Jay Panda and Nand Kishore Singh, Cricketer Yuvraj Singh, Apollo Hospitals Group Sangitha Reddy, actor Shabana Azmi, Ambuja Neotia Group Chairman Harshavardhan Neotia, Community Empowerment Lab CEO Vishwajeet Kumar, among others.
"These eminent personalities from different fields, will reinforce our efforts in the policy discourses on child health and advise the GAVI secretariat and partners on the challenges of immunisation and the introduction of new vaccines in India," GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Berkley said.
Members of the council have been selected for expertise and prominence in their fields and will comment and advise in a personal capacity, Berkley added.
They will also work closely with members of GAVI Alliance to build effective strategies for tackling child survival challenges and saving children from vaccine preventable diseases.
GAVI uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines.
Since 2000, the alliance has contributed to the immunisation of over 440 million children and the prevention of about 6 million deaths.