[In this Learning Network for Countries in Transition (LNCT) blog, R4D’s Helen Saxenian, Leah Ewald, and Meghan O’Connell and Logan Brenzel from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation outline 4 things ministers of finance need to know about immunization in Gavi transitioning countries.]
The Ministry of Finance is a crucial ally for Ministries of Health and country immunization programs aiming to successfully manage Gavi transition. Ministries of Health, Ministries of Finance, Ministries of Budget, and development partners often have separate planning processes, which can make it difficult to plan for the needs of changing immunization programs as they move toward self-sustainability. Four essential points for Ministry of Finance staff in Gavi transitioning countries are below.
1. Immunization is a critical driver of primary health care (PHC), Universal Health Care (UHC) and the health Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
The immunization schedule requires numerous points of contact between the child, mother, and health system, particularly in the first year of life. To successfully prevent disease outbreaks, immunization coverage rates of around 80-95% of the population are needed in all districts. Immunization programs therefore strive for equity and often reach farther into hard-to-reach, mobile or otherwise marginalized populations than do other health services. These contacts can serve as an entry point for the child and mother into primary healthcare through referrals or, in some cases and with careful planning, through the integration of immunization service delivery with delivery of vitamin A, deworming, family planning, or other services. Investing in immunization program performance may also bolster health system performance as whole, including primary healthcare and surveillance capacity.
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image credits: CTBTO, Wikimedia commons CC 2.0