With a rapidly expanding population of more than 250 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. Its people are spread across more than 13,000 islands in roughly 300 ethnic groups and speak more than 300 languages, resulting in many very diverse cultures.
Indonesia’s expansive geographic footprint, numerous languages, and sheer volume of people present unique challenges when it comes to ensuring that all Indonesian children have access to vaccines. Although this diversity is part of what makes Indonesia so special, it also creates obstacles when it comes to healthcare delivery. The disparities in child immunization coverage are significant, with rates in the country’s highest performing province exceeding those of the lowest performing province by more than 60 percent.
I traveled to Indonesia as part of the Pfizer Global Health Fellows (GHF) program to support Save the Children’s local partner, Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, and lend my skills to the Advocacy and Campaign team. Together we worked to develop strategies that could help increase equitable access to vaccinations for children across Indonesia. Understanding what drives these disparities helps us develop ideas and solutions to eliminate them and is therefore critical to ensuring that Indonesia’s most vulnerable children are not left behind.
Kristin Manzolillo is a Senior Director within Pfizer’s Global Policy and International Public Affairs organization. In Kristin’s current position, she develops analyses on how changes in U.S. healthcare policy affect Pfizer, patients, providers and other stakeholders, which she uses to develop strategic recommendations. Outside of Pfizer, Kristin is a board member for the Community Healthcare Network, a not-for-profit agency that provides healthcare services to underserved communities throughout New York City.
From April through July 2016, Kristin served as a 2016 Global Health Fellow with Save the Children (STC)’s local affiliate, Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, in Jakarta, Indonesia. STC is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. While volunteering for STC, Kristin focused on STC’s advocacy program to promote equitable access to the five basic newborn immunizations for disadvantaged children.