Immunization is among the most impactful and cost-effective health investments a nation can make. However, with the introduction of new vaccines, the cost to vaccinate a child continues to rise. Many low- and middle-income countries that currently receive financial support for their immunization programs will no longer be eligible by 2020 due to their growing economies, and must therefore transition away from external financing and toward country ownership. Two challenges arise as a result of this economic growth: making informed decisions regarding vaccine introduction and establishing reliable immunization financing from their own national budget.

From 2008 to 2018, Sabin’s Sustainable Immunization Financing (SIF) Program worked closely with national leaders in 23 low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe to help them prepare for this transition. Through the SIF Program, Sabin helped countries establish and secure national immunization budgets and find domestic funding solutions that would ensure reliable financing for immunization for decades to come.

Sabin was the one of the first organizations to help countries develop new, domestic funding solutions for immunization. Built on a philosophy of self-reliance and challenging individual countries to become experts for each other, the SIF Program provided a unique framework to assist countries committed to investing in their futures. Sabin’s new report, A Decade of Sustainable Immunization Financing, catalogs the methods, accomplishments and lessons learned over the course of the SIF Program to inform other countries embarking on the important road to country ownership of their immunization programs.

During the SIF Program, countries passed laws to create and protect financing for immunization, founded advocacy networks to ensure immunization remains a national priority, and successfully established, defended or expanded national and local immunization budgets. The report presents successful methods and lessons learned about the legislative process, financing mechanisms, budget advocacy and resource tracking methods observed throughout the duration of the program. Due to the unique challenges and priorities each country faces, Sabin’s approach emphasized country-driven solutions. The report provides a useful overview of the SIF Program approach, accompanying it with examples of the process in action.   

The SIF approach was based on the principles of collective action, peer learning and increased transparency and accountability. This report documents how these concepts contributed to progress toward sustainable immunization financing. For a deeper dive, the report also includes case studies exploring approaches to sustainable immunization financing in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Georgia. The case studies examine topics ranging from the use of data to make the case for immunization to tactics to improve budget tracking, as well as additional examples of the principles in action.

This report is a culmination of Sabin’s decade of helping countries work toward independent solutions for funding immunization. Although the SIF Program has ended, Sabin remains committed to supporting the development of country-led, evidence-based solutions to extend the full benefits of immunization to all people. We are grateful to have been a part of many countries’ journeys toward sustainable immunization financing, and hope this report will be a valuable tool for countries embarking on the important road to full ownership of their immunization programs.

To learn more, view the full report.