By Jonas Mbwangue
Senior Program Officer, SIF Program

Throughout last year, a lot of work was undertaken in Mali to promote Sustainable Immunization Financing (SIF) goals.

On October 22 during a SIF meeting- held at the Mali Parliament and chaired by her Excellency Mrs. Diallo Madeleine BA- the Mali Ministry of Health (MOH) attracted new partners. During that meeting a road map for SIF was chartered by the members of parliament (MP), government officials and technical partners including WHO, UNICEF and the USAID/ATN Program. At the end of the meeting a list of priorities was created: (a) transforming the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) into a high level decision making unit within the MOH; (b) creating a national immunization fund; (c) improving the efficiency of the EPI, (d) preparing a national immunization law and (e) mobilizing additional resources from the private sector.

A follow-up meeting was organized in January 2012 where new partners such as the West African Health Organization (OOAS), the Rotary and the USAID/ATN also committed their support to push SIF priorities forward. MP leaders and SIF champions also reminded the MOH to implement the institutional transformation of the EPI. 

On February 1-2, 2012, all these partners including the Sabin Vaccine Institute, WHO, UNICEF and Rotary Club joined the EPI team to plan the fiscal year 2012 activities. The above SIF priorities were included in the EPI FY 2012 activity plan, and all partners agreed to monthly meetings to monitor the implementation of this activity plan. 

Another meeting is scheduled next week, where 4 working groups will be formed to address SIF priorities: immunization legislation; immunization efficiency (Expenditure Management); CyMP resource mobilization and communications. MPs involved in SIF activities will lead the legislation group, while the senior budget officers trained in OUIDAH-BENIN during the immunization costing and budgeting workshop will lead the immunization efficiency working group. 

onas Mbwangue, a public policy specialist, joined the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Sustainable Immunization Financing program in September of 08'. Since he joined the program, Jonas Mbwangue has been working hard on sustainable immunization financing initiatives in his three program countries Cameroon, Senegal and Mali.