Sabin’s Sustainable Immunization Financing Program works with eighteen African and Asian countries to find ways to increase their national immunization program investments. The Program uses advocacy techniques to induce innovations in public institutions, particularly ministries of health and finance and parliaments, that will lead to adequate national budgets. Since 2008, the nine-person SIF Program team has organized or participated in 279 events related to immunization financing. The events included 47 national briefings, which brought together government counterparts and parliamentarians to discuss national immunization financing.
"The focus is on public institutions in the countries and finding new ways for them to work together to make country ownership happen”, explains SIF Program Director Mike McQuestion. “When a national counterpart makes a contribution, say, comes up with a new financing idea, we do our best to document and share that innovation."
Recent examples include a public/private immunization trust fund in Nepal and a tool to track immunization expenditures in Sierra Leone. The main mechanism for disseminating these new ideas are peer exchanges from one country to another. To date, the SIF Program has sponsored 47 such exchanges.
There is some evidence that the SIF countries are increasing their immunization investments. Of nine countries reporting their immunization expenditures, seven showed increases from 2010-11. Eight SIF countries shared their recent immunization budget details with the SIF team. Among eight SIF countries that reported information for 2010-11, four showed budgetary increases. Among five countries reporting information for 2011-12, four reported increases.
Photo: SIF Senior Program Officer Clifford Kamara (center) listens to Ministry of Health Deputy Chief medical officer Dr. Alhassan Seisay talk about vaccination coverage during a meeting in Sesay's office in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Monday July 16, 2012. Photo by Olivier Asselin.