The Vaccines Network for Disease Control (VNDC), in collaboration with ONE Campaign, DCL, KVS International, CHR Nigeria, Silver Lining Initiative (SLNI) and other civil society organization partners (CSOs), organized a media campaign on September 1, 2016 to call on the Nigerian Government to take full responsibility for vaccine financing. Held at the VNDC Conference Room in Wuye, Abuja, the event had 16 people in attendance, which alsoincluded members of the press from Silverbird TV, Leadership Newspaper, Daily Trust Newspaper, Aso Radio 93.5 FM Abuja and Vision FM 92.1 Abuja.
In a passionate plea, the convener Mrs Chika Offor of VNDC, began proceedings by stating the need for the Nigerian Government to take full ownership for vaccine financing. She emphasized that as mothers, no child should die from vaccine-preventable diseases. She also mentioned the importance of the media to join efforts in strongly sending out this message for the cause.
Dr Laz Eze of DCL was on hand to provide in-depth information surrounding the routine immunization program in Nigeria and the required funding that is expected from the government. He stated that a 2-year funding period for immunization from 2017 to 2018 was proposed in order to provide sufficient time to develop a sustainable funding approach. He also stated the funding gap of 181 million USD that the Nigerian Government needs to provide in the 2017 budget in order to secure adequate stock of vaccines for its immunization program for the 2-year period. This he said will drive the quest to ensure that no child is left behind.
Mr Edwin Ikhuoria, Country Manager of ONE Campaign, added that ‘we are advocating money for the health sector, specifically vaccines.’ He mentioned that from the total deaths of children under 5 (750,000), about 225,000 deaths were caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. Thus, he made fervent calls for the government to demonstrate the political will and commitment to make our health systems work, and the need to ensure proper capture of all monies provided by various donors to the health sector. He ended his plea by stating the reality that millions of lives are at stake since Nigeria has been identified to have a birth cohort of about 7 million new-borns each year.
Vaccines Network for Disease Control and Silver Lining Initiative are members of the WAVA Coalition.