By Haruna Gimba
On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, the Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) has raises alarm on immunization funding gap and call on President Buhari to submit supplementary budget to National Assembly to cover the 2018 immunization funding gap.
In a press statement issued by the Executive Director, Mr Salisu Musa, to celebrate the 2018 International Day of the Girl Child, CHR joins 25 African Civil Society Organizations from 14 countries and one international organization for the 33 Days to Power Up Immunization Initiative in order to raise awareness over 33 days, on the importance of immunization and track vaccines finances and legislation.
Speaking at a presentation of Nigeria National 2018 Immunization Scorecard, Mr Salisu highlighted ‘the 2018 Immunization Funding Gap’ expected of Nigerian government to fund is to the tune of N16.05 billion ($52m) in line with the agreed sharing formula between Gavi and the Nigerian Government.
“In line with the theme of the 2018 International Day of the Girl Child – “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force”, Mr. Salisu demonstrated the link between immunization and the realization of one of the fundamental rights of girls and children in general.
He emphasized the importance of encouraging girls’ education and professional qualification, and also of recalling the positive impact of good immunization status on the productivity of girls, and children in general. “In 2016, the continent marked significant achievements by virtually eradicating the Meningococcal A’ Meningitis Epidemic and by significantly reducing the morbidity and mortality burden due to measles,” he said.
Mr Salisu mentioned that according to Nigeria Immunization strategy document, “this year`s Immunization requirement for Nigeria is N56.73 billion where contributions from Nigerian government and GAVI is N28.37 billion and N28.37 billion respectively. Only N12.31 billion was appropriated by the Nigerian government this year in its annual budget.
“We recognize the efforts made so far but we are calling on the Minister of Finance to release the already approved 2018 Immunization budget in full and at once and also President Buhari to submit supplementary budget to National Assembly to cover the 2018 immunization funding gap.”
He added: “This activity is part of the “33 Days to Power Up Immunization” campaign which was successfully launched in 2017, thanks to the impacts such as the Increase of funding for both child and maternal health in 2018 in Ghana, obtained through the advocacy activities of 14 CSOs from 10 African countries. The purpose of this campaign is to hold governments accountable for the numerous commitments they have made in relation to immunization.
“Throughout the 2nd edition of the campaign, whose key dates are the International Day of the Girl Child, the World Polio Day and the World Pneumonia Day, we will be tracking vaccines; finances and legislation, three areas that will help us stay on course to achieving universal access to immunization.”