In view of leveraging advocacy and strengthening of resource mobilization for vaccination and immunization, a four-day workshop is being held at Labourdonnais Hotel, Port Louis, Mauritius from 13-17 August 2018. The overall objective of the workshop is to facilitate the elaboration of the first comprehensive Multi Year Plan (cYMP) for Mauritius.
Health professionals including Regional Public Health Superintendents and technical officers from the Communicable Diseases Control Unit (CDCU), Public Health Nursing Officers, Laboratory Services Director, Advisor and Consultant, Procurement Officers, Transport officers and Human Resources Officers, Health Statisticians, Finance Officers and Health Records Officers are being trained on the strengthening of the national budgeting and planning for immunization. Participants needs to understand how much it costs to reach programme objectives, who will pay for these needs and how to prioritize activities based on available funding. A credible estimate of the funding gaps will facilitate future discussion with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on how to mobilize the resources required for the programme as well as informs decision makers on how to achieve programme improvements.
During the opening of the workshop, Dr Gujadhur, Director Public Health, who represented the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life (MOHQL) highlighted the importance of elaborating a comprehensive Multi Year Plan on Immunization for the country. He acknowledged the support of WHO Regional Office for Africa in conducting the programme review on Immunization which took place in June this year. The programme review aimed at obtaining information on the Immunization and Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance systems, identifying the strengths, gaps, opportunities or any system-wide barriers and proposed ways of strengthening the system including the identification of best practices for scale up. The findings of the Review will now guide the development of the country Multi Year Plan on Immunization.
Dr Munbodh, Regional Public Health Superintendent reiterated the commitment of the MOHQL in investing in the immunization programme as demonstrated by the introduction of new antigens over the last four years, namely Pneumococcus, Rota, Human Papilloma Virus and Hexavalent vaccines which was introduced this year.
During his address, Dr Laurent Musango, the WHO Representative in Mauritius, highlighted the introduction of the new antigens and pointed out that ‘under the national routine Immunization Programme there are currently 15 antigens aside the travellers’ vaccination.’ He congratulated the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life for such commitment in implementing a comprehensive national vaccination and immunization programme. ‘This week workshop is the next logical step to the Comprehensive National Immunization Programme review conducted from 18th to 25th June 2018’ added Dr Musango. He emphasised the reasons why it is important to elaborate a costed five-year Comprehensive Immunization Multi Year Plan and pointed out that there is solid evidence to affirm that Immunization is one of the safest and the most cost-effective health interventions that prevent illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases from infants to senior citizens. He added that for every US$1 that we invest in vaccination we have a return of US$16 on investment. According to the latter, the beneﬁciaries are not only individuals but also communities, and even the entire populations. ‘The eradication of smallpox is a case in point,’ said Dr Musango. He added that for most vaccines, their impact on communities and populations is more rapid than that of many other health interventions.
‘Working without an action plan is like driving without a dashboard. You will not know the speed or the fuel level,’ said Dr Musango. The WHO Representative reiterated the support of World Health Organization at country, regional and Head Quarter levels.
The Country Multi Year Plan on Immunization workshop, facilitated by Dr Amos Petu and Dr Mutale Mumba, both from WHO Inter country support Team Eastern Southern Africa and Mr David Sulaberidze, WHO Consultant, will help the country understanding the cost implications of new vaccines that the Ministry anticipates to introduce in the future and facilitate advocate and mobilise resources for immunization with the Ministry of Finance and others partners.