By Mike McQuestion
On 29-30 April 2010, a group of parliamentarians and elected mayors (maires) met to discuss immunization financing in Cameroon. Ministry of Health, Finance and Decentralization officials and a visiting delegation from Mali also attended the Sabin-sponsored workshop, which took place in Yaounde. Motivating the meeting was a recent executive order from His Excellency President Paul Biya to implement the country’s decentralization program. The order took effect on 1 January 2010. Each of the country’s ten districts must henceforth form its own budget. The maires have agreed to use immunization as a vehicle for developing this new capacity for the health sector.
L to R: SIF Senior Program Officer, Jonas Mbwangue and SIF Program Director, Mike McQuestion join Cameroonian district representatives for SIF's First Meeting of Mayors in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Cameroon is well on its way to sustainably financing its EPI Program. GAVI is its only remaining external EPI partner. Following briefings from national EPI Manager Dr. KOBELA Marie and WHO Immunization Focal Point Dr. ANYA Blanche, the MPs and maires
decided to include immunization line items in their regional budgets. Concerned with donor dependency, they further recommended forming a national immunization fund, to be financed jointly by the federal government and the ten regional governments. The Ministry of Health will relay this recommendation to the Prime Minister. A task force will prepare a draft law instituting the fund. If the Council of Ministers agrees, the proposed law will be submitted later this year to parliament for its approval.