The Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) conducted a two-day training for 25 advocates from 11 civil society organizations (CSOs) on Immunization Advocacy. The training which held from 4th to 5th August, 2016 in Abuja was organized with support from Direct Consulting Limited (DCL) and the Johns Hopkins University International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). The key objective of the training was to empower advocates with knowledge and skills needed to implement successful advocacy activities using their respective organizations, to help achieve equitable access to immunization services in Nigeria. Specifically, trainees will lead advocacy to policy makers at the state and national level to ensure the provision of sufficient funds for immunization in the 2017 budget.
It is pertinent to note that since the establishment of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in 1979, the Nigerian government has made good progress in the funding and delivery of immunization services. Gavi has been providing financial support to Nigeria towards routine immunization since 2001; however, the support will be scaled down over a five-year period starting from 2017. By 2022, Nigeria will assume full responsibility for funding vaccines procurement and immunization service delivery. Hence, the need for strong advocacy to policy makers and stakeholders to ensure uninterrupted access to immunization.
More so, a key message at the training was the need for biennial budgeting and procurement of vaccines for routine immunization. For example, $181 million or N53 billion should be budgeted in 2017 in order to bridge the funding gap required to achieve zero vaccine stock-out till 2018.
Facilitators at the training include Dr Chizoba Wonodi (Nigeria Country Lead, IVAC), Eugene Ivase (Head of Communications, NPHCDA), Ayo Ipinmoye (National Coordinator, ACOMIN), Edwin Daniel-Ikhuoria (Country Representative, ONE Campaign), Chioma Agwuegbo (Founder, TechHer) and DCL Consultants.