As Nigeria grapples to meet up with the 2017 World Health Organisation polio- free certification deadline, the lives of at least 7.2 million Nigerian Children are at risk as the Minister of Finance withholds the release of N12.8bn immunisation funds allocation in the 2016 budget.
This was contained in press release sent by Community Health Research Initiative, CHRI, and sent to Nigerian Pilot yesterday in Abuja.
The release read, ‘’After months of the President accent to the 2016 budget and barely five months to the end of the year, no releases for implementation of Routine Immunisation activities which will protect the lives Nigerian children from vaccine preventable diseases and death.
The group decried government’s non commitment to save the lives of millions of vulnerable children by not releasing Routine immunisations funds to relevant agencies in charge of implementation as it exposes Nigeria to possible reversal of its two years achievement of polio interruption in the country.
They expressed fears that the image of Nigeria in the global community since the interruption of polio has improved but further delay of funds by the Ministry of Finance would have severe consequences in the country and global support that it receives.
The release stated that the financial burden of polio eradication was largely borne by international donors. According to Stears Report, Nigeria’s total contributions to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative amounted to roughly $111 million between 2006 and 2013; and the estimated funding required for eradication efforts in Nigeria is $170 million just for 2016.
Dr Aminu Magashi Garba CHR/PACFaH, Project Director noted that in 2015, Nigeria could not pay its part of the funding requirement and was able to secure a bailout fund from the World Bank, it is with this bailout fund that the country is able to sustain its contribution till the third quarter of 2016.
“We have less than five months to the end of 2016 yet nothing has been released for immunisation, for procurement of vaccines and other logistics. As a nation we cannot continue to depend of development partners to buy the vaccines we need in the country yet we have funds for such purposes in our budget”, Garba warned.
He further said that delay in releasing Routine Immunisation funds puts the country at risk of experiencing stock out of vaccines in few months, if the Ministry of Finance is unable to priorities needs to protect the lives of under five children in the country.
“Immunisation is the way to go to save the lives of our children, reduce cost of health care and give the children who are the leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to live their potential, but if we as a nation cannot provide health care to our children what message are we sending to the world?” he asked.


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