By Ndidi Chukwu
Nigeria needs about $ 221.6m to fund its Immunization in 2016 that covers vaccine and devices procurement. This translates to about 44 billion naira. Out of that Nigerian government is expected to allocate about 14 billion naira in its 2016 budget while the greater part of the finances will be paid by Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines).
Nigeria appropriated for vaccines procurement for 2015 but could not pay its part of the funding after Gavi had paid the major part of the needed funds but managed to get a bail out from the World Bank, but uncertainties remain on what happens to the Immunization activities for 2016, an experience experts described as “embarrassing” to an oil producing nation like Nigeria.
Chairman of National Immunization Financing Task Team (NIFT) Dr Ben Anyene in a meeting organized by Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) in Lagos for CSOs to chat ways of “Influencing 2016 Health Budget” said that the Nigerian Government relies on donor funding for immunization and is not willing to seek ways of generating domestic funds to fund immunisation which will save its own under five children.
Anyene said the fact that the past Nigerian leaders failed to priorities health by ensuring availability of funds for health care programmes indicates that health has never been a political issue to politicians in Nigeria.
He however said all hopes are geared towards President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2016 Budget for Health. Anyene stipulates that the president will redeem his promise to Nigerians who voted him in by ensuring 100% funding for health especially for Routine Immunization.
” we want to see President Buhari’s political will for health captured as he presents 2016 Budget, this is crucial because the percentage share for the funding is 30% from Nigeria while partners pay for 70%, and if partners withdraws funds immediately due to sudden political issues, Nigeria may face a dilemma” Anyene said
He also blamed the deplorable state of the nation’s health care system on system failure where health care services being on the nation’s concurrent list makes it an option for Nigeria’s politicians.
He said Nigeria has to look at preventive health because without it the nation’s health may not improve. Citing Polio as an example Anyene said left for Nigeria alone, Polio will still be ravaging the lives of the nation’s children.
“Nigeria cannot boast of ending polio, all monies were paid by donors.” He also emphasized on the need for all stakeholders to seek what can be done to achieve a 100% health budget in Nigeria.
Discussions led by Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, CHR Trustee Chairman and Coordinator for Africa Health Budget Network pointed to the fact that CSOs in Nigeria should join voices to the issues of health budget , to be able to convince policy makers on their roles.
He said full cost of immunization is at 30,000 naira and a fully immunized child at old age can make much return a thousand times from the invested 30,000.
The CSOs are gearing up to champion a move to encourage Nigeria to own immunization, Looking at immunization from the time of production to the time it is injected in a child and how to guarantee that the immunization continues to happen in Nigeria and the chain is not broken when donors funds stop coming.