Over the past 10 years, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) has committed over $4 Billion USD in funding to accelerate access to new and underused vaccines in developing countries. Financing the introduction of new vaccines and continuing the support for existing vaccines requires additional financial resources from eligible countries, which compounds national health budgets without external aid. Gavi’s support to countries including Ghana would not continue indefinitely. Gavi’s policy requires countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) of over $1500 USD to transition from the Alliance’s support by bearing the full cost of vaccines and fully supporting their own health systems.
Immunization burden beyond Gavi’s Support
Gavi is a public-private global health partnership formed in the year 2000 to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in the world’s poorest countries. Gavi supports countries with GNI of less than $1,500 to purchase vaccines for the immunization of their children. Countries with a GNI over the $1,500 threshold transition gradually from Gavi’s support with a progressive increase in the co-financing payment, becoming fully self-financing after 5 years. Gavi’s co-financing policy prepares countries to eventually sustain their own immunization programs through the development and implementation of Financial Sustainability Plans (FSPs).
Ghana’s co-financing depends on the vaccines demand made for new and underused vaccines. Thus, Ghana pays 2% of the cost of the country’s vaccine portfolio to Gavi, while Gavi pays 98% of the cost. Ghana has difficulty in meeting its 2% obligation, defaulting sometimes. With a GNI exceeding the threshold, Ghana is on the transitioning trajectory to ultimately graduate from Gavi’s support in 2020. This situation will increase government’s immunization burden to more than $30 Million USD annually, which may impact negatively on health outcomes.
In view of this, Future Generations International, a local NGO with expertise in immunization recommends the establishment of a sustainable financing mechanism to support immunization efforts in Ghana.
Rationale For Establishng ISFUND
Ghana is presently using new and expensive vaccines to save the lives of children from a variety of diseases and adolescents from cervical cancer using HPV vaccine. However, the cost of these new vaccines are high and Ghana would be bearing the full cost of vaccines in the coming years on graduating from Gavi’s support. Thus, Ghana must be proactive to strategize and obtain additional funds to meet the preventive health needs of our children. It is a cultural norm for families to join hands during celebrations of various aspects of life to assist each other. Thus, there is the need as a nation to act as a ‘family’, to purchase vaccines to immunize, and protect the lives of our children. This proposal seeks to bring Ghana together to collectively mobilize funds to augment the protection and growth of our children, the future generations of Ghana.
Future Generations International (FUGI), the Civil Society Organization spearheading this initiative is therefore asking every citizen of Ghana (home and abroad) to support in birthing this innovative Financing Mechanism for Childhood Immunization: ISFUND.