RWANDA – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) has welcomed the Republic of Rwanda as member state with an aim of forging deeper partnerships across Africa to discover, develop and deliver safe, effective and affordable vaccines for global health.

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, IVI is a nonprofit inter-governmental body established in 1997 focused on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, Group A Strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance.

The Institute has a unique mandate to work exclusively on vaccine development and introduction specifically for people in developing countries, with a focus on neglected diseases affecting these regions.

Rwanda joining the International Vaccine Institute will facilitate opportunities for future collaborations across infectious disease research, vaccine development and pandemic response as well as support to invest in human capacity, health systems and infrastructure.

The East African country will also work with IVI to create, establish and strengthen their Research & Development ecosystem besides benefitting from the institute’s extensive knowledge and from leveraging IVI member states’ expertise.

In addition, Director of the Center for Human Genetics at the University of Rwanda Dr. Leon Mutesa currently holds a seat on IVI’s Board of Trustees to represent Rwanda and the interests of IVI’s non-funding member states.

The flag-raising ceremony celebrating the accession of Rwanda to IVI had in-person attendance by Her Excellency Yasmin D. Amri Sued, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to Korea along with two ambassadors of IVI’s host countries namely Korea and Sweden who provided congratulatory remarks.

Other honorable delegates attending the ceremony virtually include Minister of Health of Rwanda Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije, Ambassador for Global Health from Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Anders Nordström as well as IVI’s Board Chair George Bickerstaff.

Minister of Health of Rwanda Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije revealed that the application to join IVI was based on the shared aspiration towards IVI’s mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global public health.

Global collaboration, vaccine availability and equity as well as strong vaccination campaigns are key to ending the pandemic while preserving effective routine immunization programs across all continents. The support of partners such as Gavi, IVI and others will enable us to reach that goal,” Ngamije stated.

IVI’s Board Chair George Bickerstaff acknowledged that the inter-governmental body and Rwanda share ambitious and imperative health goals, noting that IVI’s priority disease areas are characterized by their associations with poverty and inequity.

As outlined in the Kigali Declaration, we firmly believe that eradicating vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as Neglected Tropical Diseases will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” added Chair George Bickerstaff.

Moreover, Ambassador of Sweden to Korea. Dr. Jerome Kim applauded the Honorable Minister of Health of Rwanda, Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije and Ambassador Yasmin Amri Sued for joining in celebrating Rwanda’s accession to IVI at IVI headquarters.

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