Devendra Prasad Gnawali is Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Sustainable Immunization Financing program’s Senior Program Officer representing Asian countries: Nepal, Sri Lanaka and Cambodia. With a PhD in health economics from Heidelberg University, Germany; an M.Sc. in health economics from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; and an M.Sc. in Statistics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Dr. Gnawali’s main focus of work has been on health care financing. Inclusive of this, has been his work on collective action initiatives among key stakeholders in immunization financing within this region.
Devendra Gnawali has been working with members of parliament, Ministries of Health, Ministries of Finance and civil society organizations in these countries, working on fostering collective action which will help secure sustainable immunization financing for these countries. Recently, he worked with UNICEF Nepal and with The Women, Children and Social Welfare Committee of Legislature Parliament of Nepal to host Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Sustainable Immunization Program’s 9-11 February, 2010 sub-regional level meeting entitled “Symposium for Parliamentarians on Child Health and Sustainable Immunization Financing” in Kathmandu, Nepal. Parliamentarians, officials from the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Finance from Cambodia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, all participated in this momentous symposium. Development partners working in the health sector were also among its participants.
Realizing the importance of immunization programs to lessen infant mortality rates (MDG#4), parliamentarians announced their commitment through what is now known as “The Kathmandu Declaration”. Endorsed by the full house of the Legislature Parliament of Nepal, the declaration’s focus is on advocacy which will help ensure sustainable immunization financing in Nepal: to increase, and sustain existing performance as well as speedy introduction of new and under-utilized vaccines through various innovative ways.
The Declaration stresses the development of legislation for immunization, to assure adequate funds for immunization programs through specific taxes. Through this Declaration, parliamentarians will explore domestic resources for sustainable immunization financing by developing legislation for tax-credit and will also reach out to corporate houses who have pledged to donate funds for immunization programs. The parliamentarians have also recommended legislation which will increase tax on tobacco and alcohol; these funds would become ear-marked funds for immunization programs. For more details, please read the “Kathmandu Declaration”