By Chioma Umeha
LAGOS – National Immunization Financing Task Team (NIFT) advocacy committee members have called on the Federal Government to meet its $181million immunization funding requirement for 2017 and 2018. This they said would save the lives of seven million Nigerian children.
Project director, Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), Dr. Aminu Magashi, while speaking with journalists in Lagos said the federal government needs to scale-up plans towards fund mobilization for immunization.
As the country begins its transition process for the Vaccine Alliance support in Nigeria, Magashi said close to $264million is required for immunization between Nigeria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and Nigeria is expected to commit $181million out of the $264million to fund immunization program.
He said the funds should be factored into the 2017 budget to create sufficient time to order for vaccines needed to save the lives of nearly seven million children born yearly who will need vaccination.
He said, “In times of scares resources for health, it is advised that the Nigerian government should begin to plan on how to commence local production of some of the vaccines needed in Nigeria to reduce the funding burden and also improve private-public partnership for immunization financing in Nigeria.”
Head and Director, Communications, Advocacy and Communications Department, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mr Eugene Ivase said the government of Nigeria through the NPHCDA has made significant progress in Routine Immunization (RI).
However, Ivase said Nigeria faces an enormous funding gap for the immunization programme due to the cost of additional vaccines, expanding birth cohort, loss of funding following GAVI graduation and insufficient budgetary allocation to vaccines. To fill the gap, he said Nigeria needs to secure progressively more money for its vaccine program starting from 29 Billion Naira in 2016 and rising to an estimated 63 Billion Naira by 2020.