On December 10, 2012 Nepal’s Rotary International District 3292 formed a Nineteen Member Executive Committee to manage and increase the size of the country’s immunization fund . The fund was established by the Rotary Club of Kathmandu North to explore domestic resources for immunization.

Following their decision, the first meeting of the executive committee took place on February 5th, gathering Rotarians, Elected District Governors and UNICEF staff members in Kathmandu, Nepal. Among these participants, the Former Chief Secretary and Former Chief of the Planning Division of the Ministry of Health also attended, along with Former WHO Representatives and prominent businessmen.

The meeting was chaired by District Governor Elect (DGE) Rtn Dilendra Raj Shrestha, who welcomed members and thanked the committee chairman, Rtn Dr. Badri Raj Pande, and his team for their efforts in moving forward the activities related to the immunization fund. Member secretary Rtn Ram Bhandari, who has been involving in the establishment of the immunization fund since its inception, presented the current status of the fund and highlighted future activities. . Dr. Devendra Gnawali, Sabin Senior Program Officer for the Sustainable Immunization Financing (SIF) program, discussed SIF program priorities and how they relate to current global policy, such as that detailed in the Global Vaccine Action Plan.   

To intensify SIF’s collective effort, participants agreed to include USAID and the Association of INGOs in this initiative to foster collective action among all stakeholders (including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Business houses, Bankers, Sabin, UNICEF, WHO, USAID, AINGOs) to increase the immunization fund.

Organizing a meeting to brainstorm a modality for raising and managing funds was a suggested activity, along with identifying a dialog with government authorities to exempt taxes of those that donate funds. Members agreed that there was a need to develop effective advocacy materials to strengthen the case for immunization financing to attract more resources. Finally, as suggested by Rtn Dr. Suniti Acharya, meetings will be planned with Embassies/Diplomats in Kathmandu to explore alternative funds. The efforts of the Executive Committee will be guided by these above mentioned activities in an attempt to increase the financial sustainability of Nepal’s Immunization Fund.

Photo by Dhilung Kirat from Santa Barbara, CA (Smile of the Adversity  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons