Mandela Washington Fellow Joins WACSi as Immunisation Advocacy Initiative Project Officer
Dr. Annick Sidibe, a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow (MWF) from Burkina Faso has joined WACSI as the Immunisation Advocacy Initiative (IAI) Project Officer. As a MWF, Dr. Sidibe took the civic leadership track at the University of Delaware, United States of America.
Dr Sidibe graduated from the Nazi Boni University in Burkina Faso as a medical doctor in 2015. In 2016, she undertook a public health training and obtained a professional certificate from the West African Health Organization (WAHO). During this period, she had clinical research experience from the Medical Research Council Unit in the Gambia (MRCG). She has over two years’ experience as a medical doctor in rural districts in Burkina Faso. Prior to joining WACSI, she worked as the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation specialist at the Directorate of Prevention through Immunization in the Ministry of Public Health in Burkina Faso.
She took up this role to advocate for increased domestic financing for immunisation and health in three (3) countries namely—Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Kenya under the IAI project. The project is implemented in partnership with the Africa Population Health Research Centre (APHRC) based in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to Dr Sidibe, the IAI project seeks to accelerate local domestic funding for immunisation in 3 selected countries transitioning from GAVI Support. It also seeks to strengthen the advocacy and networking capacities of selected civil society organisations (CSOs) within the project countries. The project will empower CSOs to advocate for governments to prioritise immunisation initiatives and commit 15 per cent of the national budget to the health sector as agreed to at the Abuja Declaration in 2015.
The project will explore stakeholders’ perceptions on immunisation. It will also unearth the status of immunisation programmes in target countries. It will examine the types of vaccines, coverage and key limitations to immunisation prioritisation and financial challenges confronting immunisation programmes in these countries.
Dr Sidibe and colleagues of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy team at WACSI will in the medium term, identify CSOs that will commit to this advocacy initiative at the country level to canvas for an increase in domestic funding and a reduction in donor dependency for immunisation programmes.
“There is a need for parliament to pass a law that will ensure a consistent and safe budget line for immunisation activities in Kenya, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Over-reliance on external support for immunisation programmes has been a major challenge to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not sustainable, particularly for countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya that are now preparing to transit from GAVI support in a few years. It is therefore essential to promote a homegrown source of funding to cater for Africa’s immunisation”, Dr Sidibe said.
The IAI project will run for another 3 years with capacity strengthening and technical support from WACSI and APHRC.