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.
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.
With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, Results for Development (R4D) is coordinating the launch of the Learning Network for Countries in Transition (LNCT), a peer-learning platform for countries that are transitioning from Gavi support. R4D will draw from its experience and expertise in collaborative learning activities particularly through the Joint Learning Network to build an active and engaged community of peer experts.
The LNCT platform will bring all stakeholders to the same table, collate transition activities and discussions, and support joint engagement across countries and partners. For Gavi transitioning countries, this platform offers the opportunity to share transition planning and implementation experience, work together to solve common problems, and add to a global knowledge base of tools and approaches that contribute to successful transition. For development partners, this platform offers the chance to engage across countries on transition-related issues. The LNCT platform will consist of both in-person and virtual engagements. The initial cohort of platform members will draw from thirteen invited countries, with potential membership expansion in 2018 and 2019.