The Nigeria Programs Lead of the Johns Hopkins University International Vaccines Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), Dr Chizoba Wonodi, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to accelerate efforts towards sustainable immunization financing in Nigeria. This call was made during a two-day workshop on Strengthening Advocacy on Immunization through Data (SAID) for civil society organizations in Abuja.
According to Dr. Wonodi, the donor support for immunization programs will get smaller from 2017 and may be completely withdrawn by 2022. According to her, “the enormous health and economic benefits of immunization buttress the need for the Government of Nigeria (federal and states) to ensure appropriation of adequate funds for the routine immunization program in the annual budgets. There is a funding gap for the immunization program in Nigeria due to the increasing birth cohort, the introduction of new vaccines, and the five-year accelerated transition out of Gavi funding support for new vaccines starting from 2017.” She called for the allocation of at least $140 million for immunization in the 2017 budget and encouraged civil society organizations to lead advocacy for unhindered access to immunization at their various operational locations.
In addition, IVAC’s Scientific Communications Manager, Julie Younkin introduced Value of Immunization Compendium of Evidence (VOICE) – an online resource developed by IVAC which makes immunization data and evidence easily accessible for use by advocates and policymakers. The resource was developed after series of consultations with immunization stakeholders/advocates, health professionals, health-based civil society organizations and media practitioners in order to understand their data needs for immunization advocacy in Nigeria.