Jakarta: The Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Health Oscar Primadi and the UNICEF Indonesia Country Representative Debora Comini signed a cooperation agreement today at the Ministry of Health Office that allows for the procurement of vaccines and drugs at affordable prices.
The MoU regulates the process of procuring goods and services through UNICEF, starting from the process of submission and payment to delivery in an effort to expedite the provision of essential health products for the people of Indonesia.
"This partnership will allow Indonesia to purchase new vaccines, such as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) at levels far below the current market price,” said the UNICEF Representative in a press release on Wednesday.
“When scaled nationally, this can prevent close to 10,000 child deaths each year,” she added.
Purchases would take place through the UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, which is the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world.
By pooling procurement requests for nearly 140 countries, UNICEF can order high volumes at reduced costs that will lead to significant savings.
According to Cormini, the covid-19 pandemic has been a major driver for this agreement. With increasing confirmed cases and the highest numbers of deaths in Southeast Asia, access to new medicines and vaccines will be essential for Indonesia. As wealthier countries secure billion-dollar bilateral agreements with vaccine manufacturers, many poorer countries risk being left out of the market.
Through this agreement, UNICEF believes Indonesia will realise many benefits, including reduced prices of vaccines and drugs, as well as establishing cooperation between Indonesia’s domestic producer, Biofarma, and UNICEF on the development of vaccines.
“While we eagerly wait for a covid-19 vaccine, we must remember to focus on the essentials,” Comini said.
“These include routine immunization for children, strong supply chains, trained health workers and communities that are aware of the benefits of vaccination. We must not lose sight of these fundamentals," Comini added.