ISSN 2330-717X

India Shuts Down Bill Gates Foundation-Backed Immunization Program


The Secretariat of India’s highest advisory body on immunization, NTAGI, has been transitioned to the fully government-funded National Institute of Family Health and Welfare (NIFHW), by order of the Centre.

NTAGI’s Secretariat has, until now, been serviced through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU) at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Reports say that the reason behind the Secretariat’s shifting out of ITSU could be allegations of “conflict of interest” in the NTAGI-Gates Foundation relationship, raised by members of the steering group of the National Health Mission.

The concerns reportedly centered around the foundation’s “ties” with pharmaceutical companies, and the influence this could exert on the country’s vaccination policy.

Global Policy Forum, an organization seeking to promote accountability of international organizations, highlighted the growing influence of large global philanthropic foundations, including the Gates Foundation, in a December 2015 study called, “Philanthropic Power and Development — Who shapes the agenda?”

“We welcome this move by the government. We have always said foreign influence in our domestic policies in any way must be avoided,” ET cited Swadeshi Jagran Manch saying. The RSS outfit’s objections reportedly factored into the government’s decision.

The Health Ministry of India said in a statement that it continues to collaborate with the Gates Foundation, and that reports of cutting off “all ties” are misleading.

“The transitioning of the NTAGI Secretariat from ITSU to NIHFW was a planned activity and is part of the health system strengthening efforts by the government,” the ministry said, adding that the shift will not negatively impact the functioning of the Secretariat.

NTAGI is crucial to India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), as its experts provide recommendations on vaccines after reviewing data on disease burden, efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of vaccines. UIP is one of the world’s largest immunization programs, providing free vaccines against 10 life-threatening diseases to an estimated 27-million children and 30-million pregnant women, annually.

The Gates Foundation-ITSU relationship formally ends on February 28.

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MINA is the Macedonian International News Agency

2 thoughts on “India Shuts Down Bill Gates Foundation-Backed Immunization Program

  • February 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    A really ill thought out move. Gates Foundation does extraordinary work in providing and working with pharmaceutical companies to lower costs. Going to any government run hospital gives one a good idea of how ineffective the government is in providing health care. RSS is a right wing Hiduvita driven organization that like all right wing organizations is detrimental to the interests of the country. It has its own perverse agenda of promoting their idea of Hinduism and are suspicious of foreign influence.

  • February 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Across the globe the rich country govt/business/ideologues funded NGOs do have outfits that tend to provide philanthropic work however nothing is free in this world. Why the hell would anyone want to do anything for anyone without expecting something in return.

    With that premise the NGO’s with good intent and mission do provide a balance of force for certain things however one should understand the underlying intent and objective and not just paint a fundamentalist/hindutva/islamist/christian angle. Doing so would be very narrow-minded and short-sighted view.

    Merely having NGO’s in the country from all over the world for a noble cause is on one side however if we look closely at the events and their sponsors these NGOs have an ulterior agenda which can be a destabilizing factor for the future of the country and above all no country should let a foreign body dictate what its national agenda/policy should be.

    In this case setting up an apex body to govern the specific policies and players should be the right way to get support and continue the good work and also protect the national interests.


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