Grand Kru County Senator Peter Coleman
Sen. Coleman Submits Immunization Act For Ratification
By Wilfred Gortor, LINA
MONROVIA, July 13 (LINA) - Grand Kru County Senator Peter Coleman has put forth a "Proposed Immunization Act," aimed at ensuring increased budgetary appropriation for the administering of vaccination services in the country.
The Act also seeks to provide the basis for the participation of civil society and the private sector through the establishment of an "Immunization Trust Fund."
Coleman, in a communication addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah Tuesday, said the proposed Act is predicated upon the backdrop that funding for the purchase of vaccines and other accessories for Liberian children since the establishment of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) has been largely financed by the United Nations and other partners.
He opined that many countries in the sub-region, including Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, and La Cote d'Ivoire, have assumed full responsibility for financing the procurement of vaccines and all immunization-related accessories through their national budgets.
Coleman noted that currently the annual cost for immunization of about one million Liberian children is estimated at about US$6 million and that budgetary support from government covers only eight percent or US$500,000.
Coleman observed that over the last five years immunization has contributed immensely to the survival of Liberian children, leading to a significant drop in infant and child mortality.
Coleman, who chairs the Senate Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs, indicated that international partners that supported Liberia's immunization programs over the past 50 years, are now insisting that low income countries like Liberia gradually begin to assume responsibility to fund their own immunization services.
"One of the greatest contributions we as a people can make towards our children is to improve the chances of all of our children surviving up to their first birth and subsequently up to their fifth birthday," Coleman emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Senate has forwarded the proposed Immunization Act to its Committee on Health for perusal and subsequent recommendation to Plenary within one week.