Health System and EPI Program
The Government initiated decentralization efforts in 2004. The MoH was one of the first four ministries to begin decentralizing. Decentralization was implemented by Presidential decree on 1 January 2010.
In 2011, the EPI was moved from the Family Health Division and reorganized into its own division. Now renamed the “Groupe Technique Central- Programme Elargi de Vaccination” (GTC-PEV), it has a board of directors (the ICCA) and a management unit (EPI Permanent Secretary). The Permanent Secretary is equipped with planning, internal audit and information management units and is directed by a Central Technical Group. There is an EPI Unit in each of the 10 regions.
The ICCA is responsible for planning, coordination and oversight of Cameroon's EPI program.
During the period 2006-2011, Gross National Income (GNI) in Cameroon increased from $990 to $1210 per capita. According to the WHO/UNICEF-Joint Reporting Form (JRF) Database, the Government of Cameroon spent $11 per surviving infant on routine immunization in 2011. Government expenditures on routine immunization have fluctuated throughout this six year period, ranging from $4 in 2009 to a high of $21 per surviving infant in 2008. From 2009-2011, the figure increased $6 per infant. In 2010, Cameroon’s government contributed 18% of the overall $27,759,700 expenditures on EPI. National contributions rose to 24% in 2011 as a result of a $1.5 million increase in government expenditures on routine immunization.
Cameroon has an elected President and a unicameral parliament. The National Assembly consists of 180 deputies who represent 49 constituencies. Deputies are elected to five-year terms.
The Constitution of Cameroon, Part X (Articles 55–62), states that 10 semi-autonomous regions, ruled by regional councils, have responsibility for “economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development”.
Cameroonian Laws 2004/018 and 2004/019, dated 22 July 2004, define responsibilities for decentralizing the government health sector. This provides a legal rationale for mayors to form immunization budgets.
In 2011 a draft decree for the “Fonds National pour la Vaccination et d’Urgence en Santé Publique” was prepared. This document proposed a legal act creating a national immunization fund as a long-term mechanism for immunization financing. However, in 2012 this draft was replaced by a draft immunization law that would create a national fund with two separate branches, one for immunization and the other for epidemic disease control.
Showcasing Cameroon's Progress in 2013
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- May 2012: SPO Jonas Mbwangue and SIF Program Officer Mariya Savchuk conducted a Sabin-sponsored workshop in Douala on immunization legislation.
- May 2012: Sabin, WHO, UNICEF and Agence pour la Medecine Preventive co-sponsor a costing (cMYP revision) workshop in Douala for Central African countries. Representing Sabin were SPOs Jonas Mbwangue and Helene Mambu-Ma-Disu, SIF Program Coordinator Alice Nader and ten peer exchangers from Madagascar, DRC and Congo Brazzaville.
- July 2012: The technical working group on legislation finalized the draft law on immunization after incorporating feedback from various stakeholders. The draft law is now being revised by the MoH.
- November 2012: Peers from Cameroon attended the "Workshop on Legislative and Financial Strategies for Immunization", held in Kinshasa, DRC. The participants presented, discussed and reviewed their legislative projects with peer exchangers from 5 other countries.