Home News Vaccine Finances: FG can’t go alone as far as 2020 – Dr Ado

Vaccine Finances: FG can’t go alone as far as 2020 – Dr Ado

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By Ndidi Chukwu

The Number of Children needing Vaccines in Nigeria grows by 2.5% annually, with up to 7.2 million already accessing immunization, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), will soon begin the search for Private Sector Partnership to fund its immunization programmes, as recent spending on Vaccine indicates that the agency may be spending close to $426Million by 2020 on vaccines procurement.

A meeting of experts to consider funding for Routine Immunization last week concluded government alone could no longer fund immunization for millions of children who need the life-saving vaccines. New vaccines introduced including that for pneumococcal diseases, cervical cancer, rotavirus, and an inactivated form for polio vaccine. It means “it is getting more expensive to fully immunize a child in Nigeria,” said Dr Ado Muhammad, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)

“Look at the total landscape of RIA (routine immunisation activities) in Nigeria in terms of funding. One thing is that government alone cannot continue to fund Routine Immunization in this country. We agree with stakeholders that it is important that private sector contributes to vaccine finance. In 2020, it will cost about $426 million to fund routine immunization vaccines. This year alone we will be spending about $150 Million to fund routine immunization vaccines” Says Dr Ado

As we introduce new vaccines—rotavirus, inactivated polio vaccine, vaccine for cervical cancer (human papilloma virus); last year we brought in pentavalent vaccine and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as part of immunization plan. What it translates to is that it is getting more expensive to fully immunize a child in Nigeria, and there is nowhere in the world where government alone pays for immunization of children. We are inviting private sector to come on board through a ‘Special Vaccine Fund’ arrangement that we are canvassing. Institutions will contribute to funding, so also taxation and individuals will be encouraged to adopt children in their localities. This will go into a fund that will be transparently managed between government and private sector.

Is that an idea you are still mulling or have you actually met with the private sector groups on this? Asked by journalists.

“This meeting has conceived that idea and we are developing a strategy to make that happen. We constituted a team to develop the advocacy strategy to make this happen. We believe in the next four weeks, we will bring out the concrete plan.” Says Dr Ado

“The component of what the private sector will contribute will be determined by the time we engage the private sector, but government will continue to provide leadership. The reason we are bringing in the private sector is because the landscape is widening in terms of financial requirement for funding immunisation in Nigeria. The number of children we immunise annually is about 7.2 million and as we get to 2020 each year there is an increment of about 2.5% in terms of population. The new vaccines are very expensive. We are also working on the possibility of having malaria vaccine. Progress is also being made on Ebola vaccine; as soon as WHO confirms that, it will also come onboard. It is getting very expensive to fully immunise a child.”

“Government is looking at local production of vaccines. There is a joint-venture agreement with Bio Vaccine, which is an arm of May & Baker. Already the Minister of Health is leading that discussion, and as soon as it is finalized, Nigeria will commence local production of vaccine. It will create job, conserve our foreign reserve and bring in hard earned currency because the entity producing vaccines will also be servicing the West African sub region.”

Dr Ado Muhammad spoke to a team of journalists at the end of a one day roundtable on advocacy for Routine Immunization Finances organized by NPHCDA in collaboration with  Community Health and Research Initiative in Abuja on Monday 16th March 2015

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