Vaccines have been—and remain—one of the “best buys” in global health. However, maintaining high rates of immunization coverage, which is essential for a persistent reduction in the incidence of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, requires a sufficient and sustained investment.
Strengthening the global ecosystem to better deliver vaccines
How R4D has supported Gavi-transitioning countries — through the Learning Network for Countries in Transition.
Significant increases in domestic financing for immunization programs will be needed in the coming years to expand and sustain immunization programs and coverage in low and lower-middle income countries. This is partially because many lower income countries that have experienced economic growth are transitioning away from external support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to full domestic financing. Gavi provides support to countries for new routine vaccine introductions. As a country’s economy grows it crosses Gavi’s eligibility threshold and begins to transition out of support. Transitioning countries often face challenges in achieving high and equitable immunization coverage, and in planning, budgeting and securing adequate financing of their immunization program after Gavi support ends. Insufficient planning can lead to gaps in vaccine coverage, which in turn result in a rise of vaccine-preventable deaths and debilitating illnesses.
The Learning Network for Countries in Transition (LNCT – pronounced “linked”) is a country-driven network dedicated to peer learning to support countries as they transition away from Gavi support to full domestic financing of their national immunization programs. There are currently 17 member countries that are within two years of entering Gavi’s accelerated transition, in accelerated transition, or within two years of fully self-financing. Members include country immunization practitioners and health and finance policymakers who are involved in financing and managing country immunization programs, as well as global, regional, and country-level partner organizations, technical facilitators, and network coordinators who manage LNCT operations. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, R4D serves as LNCT’s Network Coordinator.
LNCT uses a collaborative learning approach that brings together country practitioners, technical experts, and development partners to share lessons, challenges, and good practices for managing the Gavi transition process. Through in-person workshops and virtual initiatives, such as webinars and online roundtables, LNCT learning exchanges generate new knowledge and insight that help practitioners and policymakers make informed resource allocation and programmatic decisions. LNCT members also have access to an online platform with state-of-the-art resources curated from our network of global partners and the opportunity to virtually engage with technical experts and other country practitioners through our members-only discussion forum. In 2019, LNCT exchanges were based around four country-identified priority topics – resource mobilization, vaccine procurement, vaccine hesitancy, and immunization and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).