Vaccine Procurement in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Challenges and Ways of Improving Program Efficiency and Fiscal Space

Improving vaccine procurement performance has been a priority concern of national health authorities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for years particularly in terms of its role in accessing new vaccines and assuring a steady supply of quality vaccines at affordable prices. This article reviews the vaccine procurement mechanisms in the MENA region; analyzes the factors and drivers affecting demand for and supply of vaccines; discusses the main challenges; and suggests measures which can increase efficiency gains and generate the budgetary room to introduce life-saving vaccines. Based on in-depth analysis of available data and interviews with key informants at the regional and country level, this paper explains why most of the current strategies do not sufficiently recognize the specific characteristics of vaccine markets and best practices in procurement given these markets. The paper suggests potential efficiency gains for governments and global partners from pooling demand and moving from transaction-based purchasing to strategic purchasing in order to strengthen immunization services and introduce more life-saving vaccines.

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