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In Photos: A Homegrown Vaccine Industry with Global Support

Indonesia is one of 20 countries already on the path to ‘graduation’ from Gavi support. ACTION recently took a delegation of journalists to Indonesia to learn how the country is innovating and harnessing global support to transform their own immunization system.

Photos & story were originally posted on the ACTION site here. Photo credits: Phalinn Ooi, Ferry Tan & BioFarma. 

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100 miles from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta lies Bandung, a city ringed by rolling green hills, filled with bustling markets and malls, and packed with raging traffic jams. But it’s also home to a very important industry. 

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Workers move around the 20-acre property with the busied look of people preoccupied by an important mission. Their task? They aren’t writing code or developing new software, they’re working to develop and produce vaccines for every child in Indonesia.

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In 1890, the Governor of the then Dutch East Indies established the ‘Parc Vaccinogene’ by decree. Now called BioFarma, the 124-year-old institution has undergone many transformations in its long history. 

Credit: Ferry Tan. 

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But one current fact about BioFarma stands tall above its storied history: 
The state-owned company is one of the world’s largest vaccines manufacturers & suppliers, producing vaccines for both the global market and Indonesia.

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That’s no easy feat considering the country houses the fourth largest population in the world. Over 50,000 village midwives supervise routine immunizations in around 260,000 village health posts called ‘posyandus’. 

Credit: Ferry Tan. 

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But even when vaccines are produced cost-effectively and locally, it’s still no easy feat to ensure vaccines make their way to children across Indonesia’s 6,000+ inhabited islands.

That’s where Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has come in. Gavi has provided about $US 38 million to support Indonesia’s immunization system – including to upgrade the cold storage and vaccine delivery networks – and strengthening the wider health system.

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And most recently, Gavi supported the introduction and rollout of the pentavalent vaccine across Indonesia. This intensive process began in August 2013 and is gradually reaching across the entire country.

Credit: BioFarma

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Why was this particular vaccine so important for Indonesia? Here’s one reason: the pentavalent vaccine protects against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, hepatitis B, and Hib all in one shot.
In a country where many people live in rural & hard-to-reach areas, minimizing the number of health center visits needed to protect kids from preventable diseases is essential.

Credit: BioFarma

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In 2016, financing will be taken over by the Indonesian government as part of Indonesia’s journey on the path to ‘graduation’ from Gavi support.

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