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NIFT to end polio diseases in Nigeria by year 2020




National Immunisation Financing Task Team (NIFT) advocacy committee members have unveiled plans to end polio diseases among Nigerian children by the year 2020.

The committee also charged the Federal Government to meet its $181m immunisation funding requirements for the years 2017 and 2018 to enable it saves the lives of Nigerian children.

The committee said this at a two-day retreat organised for NIFT advocacy members by Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), with support from partnership for Advocacy in Children and Family Health (PACFaH), in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking at the retreat CHR/PACFaH project Director, Dr. Aminu Magashi, stated that the Federal Government should scale up plans towards fund mobilisation for immunisation, timely and transparent release of the 2016 budget, adding that the committee was in Lagos to review its strategy, as well as, take stock for 2016 immunisation programme and plan for 2017 immunisation budget.

Magashi stressed that as the country begins its transition process, for Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), the vaccine alliance in Nigeria, its funding requirement increases, for 2017 and 2018, and that close to $264m is required for immunisation to be paid between Nigeria and GAVI. Nigeria is expected to commit $181m out of the $264 million to fund immunisation programme. He urged government to ensure that Nigeria’s commitment is met.

He said: “The funds should be factored into the 2017 budget to create sufficient time to order for vaccines needed to save the lives of millions of children born yearly in Nigeria, who will need vaccination.

“As of now, government has released some money so far, and we are still advocating for more to ensure Nigeria would be polio-free by the year 2020”.

He explained that the retreat also aimed at exploring other advocacy channels to catalyse actions towards domestic funding for sustainable immunisation programmes through the local production of the vaccines and the need for Nigeria to create a Primary Health Care Trust Fund to raise finances for primary health care revitalisation, which also includes immunisation.

“The retreat hopes to strengthen a stronger synergy between the indigious and International none governmental organisations (NGOs), for a unified advocacy to achieve one goal equitable access to vaccine for all eligible children”.

“We are committed towards ensuring that funds are made available to cater for the vaccine needs of over seven million Nigerian children born every year, this would guild the committee on its advocacy strategy to the government”.

Programme Director, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Remi Adeseun, said Nigeria should not be a beggar nation, but be more productive by encouraging local manufacturers of vaccines in Nigeria.

He said: “Nigerians should look inwards and adopt health-seeking behaviour. Every Nigerian should not limit health seeking within, but ensure that all children around him are fully immunised. Nigerians should visit primary healthcare always to know government policies and programmes in terms of health for their own benefits and hold government accountable for the polices and programmes.

“There is need for government to be systematic and strengthen the entire health sector. So, there would be efficacy resources in terms of allocation, and a place to start is to look at the particular sickness that is killing people and tackle it. It is very important that health policies and programmes are in line with allocations coming into the sector to ensure improvement there.

Dr. Obinna Ebirim, Senior Consultant and Logistics Management for International Vaccine Access Centre, informed that immunisation has an immense value to save lives of millions of Nigerian kids from death, adding it is very important Nigerians key into it for their children to be immunized.

Ebirim said: “If you consider the about 750, 000 children that die yearly in Nigeria, preventable diseases account for over 20 percent of it. We should do enough to ensure that all children, no matter where they are, should have access to vaccine, especially at the grassroots levels”.

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