As new vaccines are introduced—some of them quite costly—accurate information on the cost and financing of national immunization programs can be lacking. Research and a new website developed at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are designed to help governments worldwide manage their immunization programs and plan for the future. They will also help donor organizations and donor nations as they make decisions on supporting such programs.
A team of 10 experts from Harvard Chan School has been working on the immunization costing project, called EPIC—Expanded Program on Immunization Costing and Financing. Stephen Resch, deputy director of the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard Chan School, has served as advisor to EPIC since its inception in 2012 and has led the project’s second phase at the School for the past two years.
The project began four years ago with immunization costing studies by researchers in six countries—Benin, Ghana, Honduras, Moldova, Uganda, and Zambia. In the project’s second phase, begun in 2014, the Harvard Chan group extended the work of the individual country studies by analyzing data on immunization costs from more than 300 health care facilities in the countries. They developed a website that is serving as the hub for all new information on immunization costing and financing studies. They also created a community of practice of over 200 experts in the field from around the globe, which will help foster collaborative projects and disseminate new findings.