INTERNATIONAL FINANCE FACILITY FOR IMMUNIZATIONS (IFFI) Increased awareness in rich countries about the “health gap”-the widening gap between developed and developing countries in the provision of health care and expenditure on health per citizen in these two parts of the world-resulted in the launch of a number of new initiatives including the International Finance Facility for Immunizations The IFFI’s establishment was especially critical for countries such as Pakistan, which had lagged behind other developing countries at the stage of development in terms of providing health care for its citizens According to The Health Challenge, a report published by the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre at Islamabad, there was a decline in the overall coverage of immunization in Pakistan for communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, polio, and measles between 1995 and 2002The IFFI was established in September 2005 in London, with financing coming from several European countries including France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Sweden This innovative fund will provide an extra US$4 billion for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, an initiative launched in the 1990s The donor countries would borrow money on capital markets and pay it back from aid budgets in an approach that development economists see as a way of realizing aid money early The additional funds would be used to finance immunization and buy vaccines for the developing world to control diseases such as polio and hepatitis B Britain pledged 35 percent of the funds that were initially committed for the facility, with France providing another 25 percent The facility’s launch coincided with the publication of a report sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, the London-based medical charity, according to which there was a greater payoff if stronger incentives were provided to smaller biomedical companies rather than to large pharmaceutical groups Such an approach could help boost the development of treatment for “neglected” diseases of the developing world, such as malaria and tuberculosis

“Neglected diseases” mostly occur in poor countries where biomedical companies have little chance of making a big profit These diseases kill an estimated three million people a year

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