Nigeria and some Anglophone African countries like Kenya, Serria- Leone, and Uganda have began discussions on sustainable vaccine funding as a result of shortfall in revenues to countries in recent times and ahead of withdrawal of aids from international donors.
The vaccine funding event tagged ‘’Anglophone African Peer Exchange Workshop’’ with the theme ‘’Sustainable Immunization Financing’’ was held yesterday in Abuja.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Muhammad, who spoke to newsmen, said that immunization remains the most cost-effective effort to save lives, adding that countries get a direct result of six dollars and indirect and direct result of about 14 dollars from a dollar invested.
“Immunization is not 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,” Ado said.
Ado said that the reduction of the 2016 budget for immunization by the National Assembly, ‘’ is disturbing.”
He noted that the Ministry of Health was engaging relevant stakeholders on the action, including sustained funding for immunization. “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 If you see where we are now and 2022 when the donors would have withdrawn their support, because through the rebasing of the economy, by 2022, Nigeria will not be eligible for funding.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. However, by 2022, due to the rebasing of the economy, it will cost us about 325 million dollars to immunize. That will be sourced domestically. You can see that we have to start to advocate,” he stressed.
He disclosed that government was exploring the private sector to come in to immunize children in the country, because, ‘’children are the nation’s future.’’
Director, Sustainable Immunization Financing (SABIN Vaccine Institute) Michael McQuestion, said the effort after the event would help in reducing cost of vaccine by producers and guaranteeing transparency in pricing. According to him, when the African countries present fund as a body to the manufacturers, his institute would advocate for reduction, which he expressed optimism the producers would honour.
“We have about 150 countries buying vaccines, but each is paying a different price, and the manufacturers dealing with the countries one by one. There is no fixed price that we can see in a magazine or in the world.’’
“So, we want the prices to be clear. We want transparency of prices. Like any commodity, we need supply, we need demand. It is for the countries to be sure they are going to buy the vaccine. How do they do that? They do so by creating trust fund mechanism, setting aside the money.’’
“Then, we can go to the manufacturers and tell them, see West African countries, they have already set aside the money to buy your vaccines. So, all they need from you is a decent price. And, you know, the manufacturer appreciates when you can do this kind of pooling of their demand, because now, we don’t have it. So, if our countries in this workshop can find how to set aside that money, we think the prices of vaccines will go down,” McQuestion, hinted.

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