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AHBN establishes Community of Practice on Immunization Budget Tracking in Sokoto

by Haruna Gimba
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By Haruna Gimba

The African Health Budget Network said it has established  Community of Practice (CoP) in Sokoto state to accelerate the progress in improving immunization coverage in the state.

AHBN in consortium with the African Epidemiology Network (AFENET) is currently implementing the Zero Dose Learning Hub in Nigeria and in Bauchi, Borno, Kano and Sokoto states.

In a statement, AHBN said the CoP will support governments in the four states to accelerate the progress in improving immunization coverage, particularly in reaching the Zero Dose Children, by influencing budgetary allocation, releases, and utilization using advocacy to demand accountability and transparency.

“Implementation of the Community of Practice in Sokoto State will support the state government and its immunization partners to continuously analyse and track immunization budgets based on agreed indicators in line with the state-level accountability framework and the state-level MoU targets.

“The Community of Practice will also review challenges and proffer key recommendations that will support accountability and transparency amongst state-level partners and continuously engage and promote coordination amongst state-level partners aimed at promoting the sustainability of immunization finances.

“It will also document lessons learned periodically and disseminate through multiple platforms at state, national, regional, and global levels. This will be through publications, newspaper stories, PowerPoint presentations at strategic meetings,” the statement said.

It added that the community of practice will use the evidence gathered to continuously engage in targeted advocacy to policymakers, political actors, development partners, and community gatekeepers, aimed at influencing positive actions for sustainable immunization finances, such as timely releases, efficient utilization, and increased budgetary allocation.

“The Community of Practice is crucial because, over the years, different immunization financing strategies have been developed and implemented to mobilize resources for vaccine procurement, distribution, and service delivery in reducing the number of Zero Dose which is presently put at 2.4 million children in Nigeria.

“It is widely known that vaccines have reduced the risk of getting infected with some life-threatening diseases, in fact so many lives, particularly that of children under five, have been saved from deadly diseases.”

AHBN Focal Person in Sokoto State, Malam Umar Kadi, said AHBN will support the Sokoto state government to improve immunization budget performance.

“We will support the State Government through the Community of Practice to improve the state immunization budget performance, thereby improving immunization activities and coverage. Money is key in addressing most of the barriers already identified for effective immunization process,” he said.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Larai Aliyu welcome the establishment of the Community of Practice, which said will support the agency “with evidence and advocacy to continue to strengthen collaboration with our immunization partners and state-level CSOs to improve immunization coverage as well as ensure every child in Sokoto state is fully immunized, thereby, reducing Zero Dose children.”

Also speaking, CSO Co-Chair of the Community of Practice, Malam Ibrahim Yusuf, encouraged the Sokoto state government to always ensure the timely release of agreed funds signed in the MoU to promote budget performance.

He said, “As the Civil Society leader, I encourage, the Sokoto State Government to always ensure the timely release of agreed funds signed in the MoU to promote budget performance, which will positively impact zero-dose children and call on the stakeholders in the Community of Practice (CoP) to promote budget tracking, accountability, and sustainability.”

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