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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 6312

Senator URQUHART (TasmaniaOpposition Whip in the Senate) (11:48): At the request of Senators Moore and Duniam, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) increased immunisation of children, which is essential for protecting them against diseases including pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, meningococcal and measles, now saves the lives of 2 to 3 million children per year - nevertheless, 1.5 million children still die each year globally from vaccine-preventable diseases,

(ii) in 2017, 85 % of children globally received the full course of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine, a key measure of vaccine coverage, however this left nearly 20 million children not covered by this vaccine,

(iii) globally, 85 % of children receive the polio vaccine, however gaps in polio vaccine coverage allow some children to contract the disease, with 15 cases in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2018 so far,

(iv) Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to which Australia has been a consistent contributor, has supported the vaccination of more than 690 million children, and saved an estimated 9 million lives - in December 2018, Gavi will hold a mid­-term review to assess what changes to its strategy are needed to achieve increased and equitable access to vaccines, and

(v) Australia also partners with the World Bank Group to support countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to strengthen immunisation systems and help ensure they are sustainably financed and managed;

(b) recognises that:

(i) Australia co-sponsored a resolution at the 2017 World Health Assembly to accelerate access to vaccines, calling for the extension of immunisation services beyond infancy, increasing domestic financing, and strengthening international cooperation to achieve global vaccination goals, and

(ii) funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), to which Australia contributes, is due to decline as polio nears eradication - this funding covers one-fifth of the World Health Organization's (WHO) costs, and accounts for a high proportion of the health and vaccination workforce in several countries, and GPEI and WHO are undertaking transition planning to ensure that skilled staff and services remain in countries where polio has been eradicated; and

(c) calls on the Australian Government to:

(i) participate in planning to accelerate progress in making vaccines available to all children, including through the Gavi mid-term review, and

(ii) work with countries now receiving polio support and multilateral agencies to ensure that transition from GPEI funding results in increased resources for other health and vaccination programs.

Question agreed to.