Rwanda: Kigali-Based Vaccines Centre Gets U.S.$17 Million Funding. What It Means

The Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management, located at the University of Rwanda in Kigali has secured $17 million (approximately Rwf17bn) funding to strengthen its capacity.

The funding is part of the $65m financing signed by EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki and Regine Hess, the German ambassador to Tanzania on May 17 to support health, digital skills and water resources projects in the region.

Hess is also accredited to the East African Community.

The finance is expected to allow the centre to expand its expertise and reputation, especially in the areas of digitalization in health supply chain management, cold-chain management; quality control and drug safety among others.

The vaccines, immunization centre of excellence was launched in February last year and hosted by the University of Rwanda.

Eying self-reliance

Dr. Stephen Karengera, the Head of the centre told The New Times that the support will boost the centre’s capacity and brand.

“This funding sustains the RCE into the next decade. It will allow the centre to build its own brand and capacity to generate its own revenue,” he said.

He explained generating their own revenues will be through research, innovation, training and technical assistance adding that; “the centre is presently generating about Rwf400 million in school fees annually.”

“We target to be 80 percent self-sustaining by 2029,” he said.

Since its establishment, he said, the facility has also graduated the first cohort of 25 students and have also second and third cohorts going on with 40 students each from six EAC countries.

He said that short courses in vaccines, immunization and health supply chain management (VIHSCM) were also provided to 785 leaders while small research grants were issued to EAC practicing VIHSCM cadres.

Immunization programme in the region

Also under the health sector, the German funding allocated a $30 million kitty for the EAC’s immunization programme with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance that will contribute to reducing child morbidity and mortality in the region.

The funds, according to a statement, will finance the procurement of at least four types of vaccines namely ntavalent, rotavirus, pneumococcal and measles second dose, to be made available for routine immunization and immunization campaigns for children in all six Partner States.