One of the greatest privileges of working in global health is the chance to see the impact that advances like vaccines can have in people’s lives. It doesn’t always come easily. Developing a new drug or vaccine can take many years, involve many setbacks, and require close collaboration with many partners. But when it works, it’s glorious.
This week, one year after donors pledged $4.3 billion to help the GAVI Alliance ensure all children get the vaccines they need, it seems like a good time to reflect on how vaccines work to save and improve lives.
For the past decade, several of my colleagues and many of our partners were deeply involved in developing a new, affordable vaccine against meningitis. Called MenAfriVac, it was designed specifically to protect people in Africa’s meningitis belt from a terrifying disease. It was launched in December 2010 in Burkina Faso, and is already showing fantastic results.
I hope you’ll check out this video about how this vaccine came to be. It’s truly one of the most amazing success stories in global health.