By Ndidi Chukwu
President Muhammadu Buhari has allocated N12.6 billion for Immunization in the 2016 budget he assented on Friday 6th May 2016. This funds will be used to procure vaccines, contribute to Polio Eradication campaign including logistics
After thorough scrutiny of the “Budget of Change”, the first full budget of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, the President and the Joint National Assembly/Executive Committee who carried out the final review, we can authoritatively confirm that the initial Immunization funds that was slashed by 50% by the National Assembly have being returned to the signed budget.
The portion of the budget shows allocation to health projects that are designed to significantly improve health indices across the nation as follows; N12.6 billion for vaccines, devices and operations programmes for Polio, Measles, Yellow fever etc and N1.3 billion counterpart contributions for procurement and distribution of antiretroviral drugs including contraceptive commodities.
It is recall that the initial budget presented to the National Assembly by the president in December 2015 was N7.9 billion out of which N3.9billion would be used for Nigeria’s final push for Polio Eradication and N4billion for vaccine procurement, but the allocation was slashed by 50%.
This action has heighten media advocacy by CHR/PACFaH for the president and national assembly to return the funds in the 2016 budget. CHR/PACFaH had called on the President to consider the lives of millions of Nigerian children at risk and ensure adequate funding is made available for Routine Immunization.
“Immunization is the way to go to save the lives of our children, reduce cost of health care and give the children who are the leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to live to their full potentials” said Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, CHR Project Director, while briefing journalists in Lagos as Nigeria commemorated 2016 Africa Vaccination Week on April 25th..
Aminu Magashi Garba had told the media again in a media parley organized in Abuja on the 4th of May, before the president assented the budget that, “the President has indeed shown commitment to health, following his agreement with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to co-finance Nigeria’s final push towards polio eradication. This is targeted at sustaining the gains since Nigeria interrupted the transmission of Wild Polio Virus in July 2014. The foundation pledged to contribute $80 Million, while Nigeria allocated N3.9 billion in the budget as a counterpart fund. Also in the 2016 budget N4billion was allocated for Routine immunization. Sadly, 50% of the allocated funds for Polio and Routine Immunization have been slashed respectively by the National Assembly. However, we are hoping that the President will ensure the allocated funds of N7.9 billion for Polio eradication and RI are return before he signs”
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