As Overseas Money Dries Up, Indonesia Develops Its Own Vaccines

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Indonesia is developing its own vaccines to fight infectious diseases because funds from the EU and other development agencies to its health sector are drying up. EurActiv reports from Indonesia.

Indonesia has invested heavily in vaccine development through its state-owned pharmaceutical company, Bio Farma. The country suffers growing rates of many infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The Southeastern Asian country benefited from EU development aid for its health sector from the 1980s to January 2014. Since then, it has stood on its own two feet when it comes to providing public healthcare for more than 200 million people across more than 6,000 islands and many rural areas. About 28 million Indonesians live below the poverty line and about 80 million could easily fall under it if they fell ill.

Rates of many preventable and treatable illnesses are high. It is estimated that 50,000 children under the age of five die every year from pneumonia and diarrhoea. Indonesia also has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world.

Significant role

The EU played a significant role in supporting the government of Indonesia and its civil society partners in combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Indonesia has received $650 million from the Global Fund, to which the EU contributes, since 2003. Over the past ten years, the Commission has also committed over €83 million to Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, from which Indonesia has benefited. In one year’s time, the support Indonesia gets for immunisation from Gavi will end.

But Indonesia is counting on Bio Farma, a 120-year-old state-owned institution, to be the answer to the country’s many challenges.

Source: EurActiv (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, vaccines