Background: In Uganda, there are persistent weaknesses in obtaining accurate, reliable and complete data on local and external investments in immunization to guide planning, financing, and resource mobilization. This study aimed to measure and describe the financial envelope for immunization from 2012 to 2016 and analyze expenditures at sub-national level.
Methods: The Systems of Health Accounts (SHA) 2011 methodology was used to quantify and map the resource envelope for immunization. Data was collected at national and sub-national levels from public and external sources of immunization. Data were coded, categorized and disaggregated by expenditure on immunization activities using the SHA 2011.
Results: Over the five-year period, funding for immunization increased fourfold from US$20.4 million in 2012 to US$ 85.6 million in 2016. The Ugandan government was the main contributor (55%) to immunization resources from 2012 to 2014 however, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance contributed the majority (59%) of the resources to immunization in 2015 and 2016. Majority (66%) of the funds were managed by the National Medical Stores. Over the five-year period, 80% of the funds allocated to immunization activities were spent on facility based routine immunization (expenditure on human resources and outreaches). At sub-national level, districts allocated 15% of their total annual resources to immunization to support supervision of lower health facilities and distribution of vaccines. Health facilities spent 5.5% of their total annual resources on immunization to support outreaches.
Conclusion: Development partner support has aided the improvement of vaccine coverage and increased access to vaccines however, there is an increasing dependence on this support for a critical national program raising sustainability concerns alongside other challenges like being off-budget and unpredictable. To ensure financial sustainability, there is need to operationalize the immunization fund, advocate and mobilize additional resources for immunization from the Government of Uganda and the private sector, increase the reliability of resources for immunization as well as leverage on health financing reforms like the National Health Insurance.
Keywords: Financial flows; Financing; Gavi; Immunization; Resource tracking; Sustainability; Uganda.