By Asma’u Ahmad
A Consultant with International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Dr. Obinna Ebirim, has called on the Federal Government to increase the budget for immunisation vaccines to N14 billion by 2017.
Dr. Ebirim made the call in an interview with newsmen during a focal group discussion in Abuja.
He said the discussion was to strengthen advocacy in immunisation through data to save projects, adding that by 2017, IVAC will be transiting out of Global Alliance for Vaccines and immunisations (GAVI) support.
The consultant noted that with the transition out of GAVI there will be a huge financial gap for immunisation and the gaps need to be filled.
He said: “The projects are coming when we have a huge fund gap for immunisation in Nigeria and there is a need to start thinking about sustainable immunisation finance in the country.
“The funding gap is as a result of more kids that are born, new vaccines are being introduced and they are costlier. With this there is need for increase advocacy to the government to mobilise more fund to fill up the funding gaps. That is why it is important to equip advocates with the data they need to carry out these advocacy.”
Ebirim said that the target of the meeting was to make the advocates understand the data needs of the officers that are working in the fields of immunisation advocacy.
“The objective was to improve the data needs of immunisation advocates in Nigeria. If we understand their needs and the needs are met, then it will improve immunisation and in turn improve its coverage rate in the country,” he said.