Co-financing, an investment in our children

in page functions

Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Permanent Secretary at Rwanda's Health Ministry, explains why her country is committed to co-financing

Agnes Binagwaho

I am proud to say that Rwanda has made great strides in improving the health of our people in the past decade. Our budgets for health and immunisation have steadily increased, accompanied by a strong national health strategy that has been endorsed by all main actors in the health sector.

Babies born in Rwanda now receive life-saving vaccines against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, Hib, hepatitis B and pneumococcal disease. In 2009, 97% of the children in our country were given the required three doses of the pentavalent vaccine.

Paid-off

Our investments have paid off. Between 1990 and 2008, under-five mortality rates dropped from 174 to 103 deaths per 1,000 live births. This success is linked to a range of life-saving interventions, not least to immunisation.

Rwanda knows that immunisation is a cost-effective investment in the future of our children. Preventing disease is always better than waiting until children fall sick. And because we want to sustain these achievements after GAVI support has ended, we are committed to contributing financially to the vaccines we introduce.

Co-financing is an important step towards ensuring that we maintain our current political ownership and commitment to reducing child mortality, and achieve long-term sustainability of interventions.

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Permanent Secretary for Health, Ministry of Health, Rwanda

Political ownership

Co-financing is an important step towards ensuring that we maintain our current political ownership and commitment to reducing child mortality, and achieve long-term sustainability of interventions.

Already in 2008, when co-financing of GAVI vaccines became mandatory, our Government decided to contribute significantly more than what was required by GAVI - US$ 0.75 per dose instead of the compulsory US$ 0.15 per dose. Between 2008 and 2010, our co-payments amounted to nearly US$ 2.5 million, or 26% of the total GAVI support for Rwanda.

Solid plan

Although Rwanda is a low-income country, we pay 100% of the cost of our existing vaccines, such as those protecting against measles and polio; and we have a solid plan for increasing our contribution to full funding for new vaccines in the future. We are hoping to introduce rotavirus vaccines in 2012 and are looking at introducing vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) as soon as possible.

In addition to vaccine support, GAVI funding helps us strengthen the health system to deliver immunisations and other integrated high-impact services. Our network of local hospitals, health centres and outreach health workers has been effective in encouraging improved hygiene, good nutrition and exclusive breastfeeding - all of which help combat disease.

Immunisation is an important entry point for these interventions, as well as for other initiatives such as family planning, HIV testing, vitamin A supplementation, deworming and bed net distribution.

MDG4

Our country is currently on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 on reducing child mortality. Whether we will succeed depends not only on continued support from development partners, but also on our own commitment and contribution.

Co-financing is one of the ways in which we seek to ensure that we will continue to reap the benefits of our investments in health in the long term.

More on this topic

1.5 million

In 2012, approximately 6.6 million children died before the age of five. WHO estimates that 1.5 million of these deaths are due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

WHO

More facts...

close icon

modal window here