Ministry of Health and UNICEF sign agreement to procure affordable vaccines and drugs

16 September 2020
Indonesian Ministry of Health and UNICEF signed a cooperation agreement today at the Ministry of Health Office
UNICEF/2020/Arimacs Wilander

Jakarta, 16 September 2020 – The Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Health Oscar Primadi and the UNICEF Indonesia Country Representative Debora Comini signed a cooperation agreement today at the Ministry of Health Office that allows for the procurement of vaccines and drugs at affordable prices.

The signing was witnessed by the Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Masudi and the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir, who is also the Executive Chairman of the COVID-19 Response and the National Economic Recovery Committee, and his deputy minister.

In a report submitted by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today to update the previous MoU with UNICEF from 2004. The MoU regulates the process of procuring goods and services through UNICEF, starting from the process of submission and payment to delivery in an effort to expedite the provision of essential health products for the people of Indonesia.

Purchases would take place through the UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, which is the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world. By pooling procurement requests for nearly 140 countries, UNICEF can order high volumes at reduced costs that will lead to significant savings.

“This partnership will allow Indonesia to purchase new vaccines, such as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) at levels far below the current market price,” said UNICEF Representative Debora Comini. “When scaled nationally, this can prevent close to 10,000 child deaths each year.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major driver for this agreement, Comini added. With increasing confirmed cases and the highest numbers of deaths in Southeast Asia, access to new medicines and vaccines will be essential for Indonesia. As wealthier countries secure billion-dollar bilateral agreements with vaccine manufacturers, many poorer countries risk being left out of the market. 

Through this agreement, UNICEF believes Indonesia will realise many benefits, including reduced prices of vaccines and drugs, as well as establishing cooperation between Indonesia’s domestic producer, Biofarma, and UNICEF on the development of vaccines.

“While we eagerly wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, we must remember to focus on the essentials,” Comini said. “These include routine immunization for children, strong supply chains, trained health workers and communities that are aware of the benefits of vaccination. We must not lose sight of these fundamentals.”

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Indonesia has been actively cooperating internationally and multilaterally, including through the WHO Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – COVAX Facility, to provide easy access to safe and affordable vaccines.

Indonesia is included in the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) category in the COVAX Facility. With Indonesia's entry into the COVAX Facility, the country will have guaranteed access to affordable and quality COVID-19 vaccines for 20 per cent of the at-risk population by the end of 2021. Until now, the Indonesian Government continues to maintain intensive communication with GAVI and the COVAX Facility to determine the timing of vaccine supplies and prices.

Similar sentiment was also voiced by Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto that this global partnership is not the only global initiative and cooperation between the government and producers to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is available worldwide for all countries, both high and low income.

In the context of the COVAX Facility, UNICEF has a critical role to play. Every country, including Indonesia, will have safe, fast and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready to be produced.

"UNICEF and its partners are committed to countries that have joined COVAX, including Indonesia, to procure and deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine quickly and on a large scale," said the Minister of Health.

He hopes that this cooperation can accelerate the control of COVID-19 not only in Indonesia but also around the world.

"Hopefully our joint efforts in fighting COVID-19 can immediately end this pandemic and restore the health of the nation and people of Indonesia as before," Putranto concluded.

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  • For more information please contact:

Ministry of Health hotline on 1500-567, SMS 081281562620, facsimile (021) 5223002, 52921669, and e-mail address kontak@kemkes.go.id.

Communications Specialist UNICEF Indonesia, Kinanti Pinta Karana, kpkarana@unicef.org

Media Contacts

Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842

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