In spite of the challenges of political instability and a lack of resources and infrastructure, three small countries in the Western Pacific region are leading the way in demonstrating ownership of vaccine financing.
Papua New Guinea is co-financing its pentavalent vaccine entirely on a voluntary basis, while Kiribati and the Solomon Islands are contributing more per dose than is required.
“This is an investment in our future,” says Steven Toikilik, national manager for the Expanded Programme for Immunization in Papua New Guinea. “By spending money on immunisation, we’re saving on the costs of health care and medicines, and the tragedy of preventable death and disability.”
Kiribati and the Solomon Islands are co-financing their vaccines with the help of UNICEF’s Vaccine Independence Initiative. By pooling vaccine procurement for Pacific Island countries, the Initiative helps to ensure a steady supply of quality vaccines to the region while acting as a line of credit, making vaccine financing more manageable for the countries.