KATHMANDU, NEPAL — July 19, 2016 — The Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Sustainable Immunization Financing (SIF) Program today assembled senior officials from 21 countries to share their successes in increasing government budget allocations for national immunization programs. Greater political commitment and advocacy are building the momentum needed for countries to fully finance their immunization programs by 2020 and achieve the goals set forth in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
 
During the three-day colloquium, delegates will participate in an open exchange of strategies and best practices that have helped their countries increase domestic commitments to fund national immunization programs. In panel sessions, delegates will present their legislative activities, conduct peer assessments and discuss innovations in financing, budgeting and advocacy. They will also prepare short-term, country-specific advocacy plans designed to make progress on sustainable immunization financing by 2020.
 
The need for sustainably financed national immunization programs is recognized by Sustainable Development Goal three (ensure healthy lives) and the GVAP, a framework for extending the full benefits of immunization to every man, woman and child by 2020. However, rising costs due to the addition of new life-saving vaccines and unguaranteed external funding pose serious challenges for national immunization programs.
 
“Immunization is among the most cost-effective health interventions, saving lives and lessening the crushing burden of illness for wealthy and poor people alike. Countries are investing in their future when they fund immunization programs,” said Dr. Jon Andrus, executive vice president at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “We are inspired by the commitment of these delegations to take ownership of their immunization programs by funding such essential health services that strengthen their citizens and economies. Immunization should be a basic right for all people, provided by their government. Each of these countries is taking significant steps to develop a sustainable immunization program to provide its citizens with life-saving vaccines.”
 
Sabin’s SIF program currently works with 21 countries to facilitate collective action on immunization financing and has helped organize more than 270 advocacy briefings and peer exchanges since 2008 to assist those countries. By encouraging the exchange of financial, programmatic and legislative information; establishing relationships with diverse stakeholders; documenting and sharing best management practices; and monitoring performance, Sabin has helped countries solidify their financial commitments to their immunization programs.
 
“We must not only advocate for increased funds but also better resource tracking, efficient spending, transparency and community awareness,” added Dr. Helene Mambu-Ma-Disu, senior program officer responsible for SIF program activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Madagascar. “We must ensure that countries’ investments in immunization are delivered and sustained to support national immunization programs that help drive broader development.”
 
“At the colloquium we learn from one another, develop innovative solutions and share tactics to champion immunization across all levels of government,” said Devendra Prasad Gnawali, Ph.D. senior program officer in Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “Nepal’s innovative approach to immunization financing through legislation could serve as a model for other countries seeking sustainable solutions, just as Nepal’s leaders have learned from our counterparts in the SIF program,” he continued.
 
The 21 countries participating in the colloquium are all SIF partner countries. They are Armenia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. All but four countries – Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Uzbekistan – attended SIF’s second colloquium in 2013 held in Dakar, Senegal. The following SIF partners also are attending this year’s meeting: World Health Organization; UNICEF; World Bank; Rotary International; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
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About Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.
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