Paul Obi in Abuja
Nigeria and four other Anglophone African countries on Wednesday in Abuja pledged to scale up sustainable funding for vaccines across the continent.
To that end, Nigeria is leading discussions on funding for procurement of vaccines and how to improve domestic health care financing in the midst of increasing foreign donors’ fatigue and withdrawal.
The conference is aimed at addressing the shortfall in revenues to the countries in recent years. Countries participating in the conference pledged to ensure child mortality in the countries is drastically reduced through sustained vaccination. The nations are Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda and Sierra-Leone.
Speaking with journalists, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) Dr. Ado Muhammad, explained that immunization remains the most cost-effective effort to save lives.
He stressed that countries get a direct result of six dollars and indirect result of about 14 dollars from a dollar invested.
“Immunization is not an expenditure, it is an investment. We want to change the mindset of governments, and see immunization as an investment. This is an advocacy platform to policy makers, to locate stakeholders and governments on the need to ensure that we have sustainable funding for vaccines,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad stated that efforts to address the gaps are ongoing; “it is a work in progress. As I said earlier on, immunization funding is not expenditure, it is an investment. If you see where we are now and 2022 when the donors would have withdrawn their support, because through the rebasing of the economy, by 2022, Nigeria will not be eligible for funding. It costs about 85 to 90 million dollars of Nigeria resources annually, if it includes support from donors, it will be as high as 220 million dollar.