|The power of immunization|
|Data briefs: Progress and disparity|
Poor countries pay for vaccines
|Low-income countries with GNPs per person ranging from $110 to $785 are
showing stronger commitment to the health of children, judging by the resources these
governments are allocating for purchasing the necessary vaccines. Figures comparing 54 low-income countries indicate that 24 of them (see list, below) are financing 25% or more of vaccine costs. Nine of the 24 pay 100% of the vaccine costs.
Some of these countries have benefited from the Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII) promoted and supported by UNICEF. The Initiative requires participating governments to plan and budget for vaccines. It then helps the countries procure vaccines at the best possible cost, accepts their currency for vaccine payment and offers flexible financial terms to support the process.
Even countries with very low GNP per capita are encouraged to meet between 10% and 25% of their vaccine costs. Twenty-nine low-income countries (see list) finance less than 25% of their vaccine costs. Six of these Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia finance between 10% and 15%.
It is encouraging that although the majority of poor countries are struggling under heavy debt burdens and may be torn by conflicts and civil strife, many have shown such positive commitment to improving the health of their children.
The vaccines to protect a child against diphtheria, measles, pertussis, polio, tuberculosis and tetanus cost $1 in most developing countries when purchased through advantageous procurement systems such as UNICEFs. Other costs including health workers training and salaries, cold chain equipment and syringes and needles bring the total to about $17.