Global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals have led to major improvements in the health of women and children, and significant reductions in childhood mortality. Worldwide, maternal mortality has decreased by 45% and under-five mortality has fallen by over 50% over the past two decades . However, improvements have not been achieved evenly across all ages; since 1990, under-five mortality has declined by ∼5% annually, but the average decrease in neonatal mortality is only ∼3% per year. Against this background, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) convened a meeting in Berlin on January 29-30, 2015 of global health stakeholders, representing funders, academia, regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, vaccine manufacturers, and Ministries of Health from Africa and Asia. The topic of discussion was the potential of maternal immunization (MI) to achieve further improvements in under-five morbidity and mortality rates in children, and particularly neonates and young infants, through targeting infectious diseases that are not preventable by other interventions in these age groups. The meeting focused on effective and appropriately priced MI vaccines against influenza, pertussis, and tetanus, as well as against respiratory syncytial virus, and the group B Streptococcus, for which no licensed vaccines currently exist. The primary goals of the BMGF 2015 convening were to bring together the global stakeholders in vaccine development, policy and delivery together with the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) community, to get recognition that MI is a strategy shared between these groups and so encourage increased collaboration, and obtain alignment on the next steps toward achieving a significant health impact through implementation of a MI program.
Keywords: Global health; Infants; Maternal immunization; Neonates; Pregnancy; Vaccines.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.