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Health crisis looms as top donor subsidises immunisation funds

Evelyn Makena @evemake_g

Kenya faces a possible crisis in fighting vaccines preventable diseases after Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) subsidised funding. 

According to Médecins Sans Frontières  (MSF), a health humanitarian organisation working in developing countries, Kenya’s fight against yellow fever, rotavirus, pneumonia, tetanus, cervical cancer and whooping cough could suffer a major blow in the near future.

The country funds yellow fever, rota, Pentavalent, PCV, HPV – vaccines used to immunise against these diseases through a co-financing arrangement with Gavi, a global immunisation fund for poor countries.

While the government pays Sh20.50 per dose, Gavi settles the rest. However, this funding plan is in transition after the country climbed to a middle income economy in 2014.

“Kenya is expected to fund its immunisation programme fully in 10 years’ time,” said Kim West, Medical Advocacy Advisor, MSF, Nairobi office. 

The planned transition which started in 2017 will see drastic decrease in funding by Gavi, which relies on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita to determine the amount of donor support to allocate to countries.

The rebasing of the economy in 2014 saw the economy GNI increase above $1350 per capita threshold supported by the Gavi co-financing model.

MSF is concerned that the loss of financial support based on the country’s GNI overlooks key factors such as equity, level of disease burden and poverty thus it carries a high risk of reversing the gains made in health in past years.

“GNI is not a significant predictor of health outcomes and ignores key factors such as universal health coverage and institutional capacity to deliver healthcare,” said Kim.

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