As of December 2017, IFFIm has disbursed US$ 277 million for Gavi's health system strengthening (HSS) support.
Stable and strong health systems help deliver and scale up new vaccines and improve immunisation coverage and equity.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, supports the world’s poorest countries where health system conditions can vary. Weak health systems represent a significant obstacle to successfully improving routine immunisation coverage. Many factors contribute to weak health systems: inadequate infrastructure, a dearth or lack of trained healthcare workers, an interruption in the supplies of essential commodities, a lack of data to track progress and inadequate facilities to store vaccines throughout the supply chain.
In some Gavi-supported countries, a mother will walk hours in the heat with her newborn child only to be sent home because no trained health worker is available to administer vaccines. The facility can run out of syringes, or a power outage jeopardizes the vaccine cold chain.
Pakistan is one of the countries that has received HSS funds provided to Gavi by IFFIm - more than US$ 16 million. These funds are invested in different areas of the health system to make program management, human resources, finance, logistics, service delivery, monitoring and advocacy more efficient.
Gavi works with countries to develop objectives for each area and supports them to implement activities funded by IFFIm. In order to increase program management performance, for instance, Gavi helps strengthen effective and efficient management structures at national and sub- national levels. In the area of human resources, training and distribution of qualified staff is provided for the immunisation program. In order to guarantee the uninterrupted supply of vaccines to immunisation service delivery, Gavi expands the medical warehouse capacity among other activities.
Another example of IFFIm’s impact through HSS is Nepal. In April 2015, Nepal was shaken by a devastating earthquake that killed approximately 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. In the aftermath, the country’s healthcare system was strained to the limit. Within days, Nepal managed to resume regular immunisation services. From a hospital in Kathmandu to clinics in the Himalayas, Nepalese national health officials were on the front lines of the disaster, working efficiently and quickly to help people in tents and damaged health facilities.
“It’s really impressive and amazing that Nepal as a country could so rapidly resume their health services including immunisation services,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal. He explains that Nepal’s disaster management was based on strong leadership, action and coordination by the Ministry of Health. This success was only possible due to a stable health administration that had received over US$ 6 million of funds from IFFIm since 2008.
Inactivated polio vaccine launch in Nepal. Credit: Gavi/2014/Oscar Seykens.