During June-July, Sabin’s Sustainable Immunization Financing Program is organizing a series of legislative workshops that will take place both at sub-regional (country clusters), national and subnational levels. Eleven SIF countries are participating. The participants include parliamentarians, government representatives, civil society and international partners. The workshops aim to support national efforts to draft or update legislation and regulatory documents that, inter alia, will help countries achieve financial sustainability for their immunization programs. So far, legislative workshops have taken place in Cameroon and Madagascar. Coming workshops will take place in Kampala and Phnom Penh.

The workshop in Cameroon took place on May 29-June 1st 2012 in the seaside town of Kribi. 30 participants from Cameroon and Mali discussed their national draft laws on vaccination. The Cameroonians recommended that a technical group be established to draft specific provisions for the establishment of a National Fund for Immunization, an innovation that would ensure adequate and sustainable funding for the national immunization program in perpetuity. Strategies to find additional financing for the program were also discussed. These include: parafiscal levies, additional funding at the local level, tax deductable donations from the private sector and contributions the general population.

The technical group will further investigate and analyze the sectors that can be taxed and will create a new communication and advocacy strategy specifically targeting those sectors. As part of this communication strategy, the participants recommended that the next Sabin-sponsored parliamentary briefing be held once the draft law is ready, in order to ensure that MPs are familiarized with the national immunization program, its funding needs, and the most efficient strategies to guarantee such funding. The briefing will bring together parliamentarians from the Assemblee Nationale but also local government representatives, to facilitate collaboration (revenue sharing) between the two levels.