Adewole, Saraki’s wife, others lead vaccines funding
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; wife of Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, and eight others have been commissioned as “Vaccine Champions” to lead vaccines financing campaigns in the country.
A leading immunisation campaigner, Women Advocates for Vaccine Access, WAVA, inaugurated the “champions” as part of efforts to sustain funding for vaccination in the country.
Other members of the team include Emir of Shonga, Haliru Ndanusa Yahaya; Country Director Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center; Dr. Chizoba Wonodi; former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ali Pate and wife of the Kebbi State governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu. Members also include wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Muhammad Usman; Iyaloja-General of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Folasade Tinubu- Ojo; Head of Stations, CoolWazobiaInfo, FCT, Mrs. Martha Ebele Yough.
Addressing newsmen, Country Director, John Hopkins International Vaccines Access Centre, and National Coordinator, WAVA, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, said members of the team were expected to give voice to the issues around immunisation programmes. Wonodi said further:
“We expect them to help solve the problems of sustainable funding of immunisation because beginning from next year, the GAVI funding will start declining. And, Nigeria needs to invest more in immunisation programmes. They are going to ask for funding, they are also going to advocate for health workers and the health system to deliver vaccines to all children, everywhere, regardless of where they are born, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
She said there was need for government to commit more funds into vaccination in the country, despite economic recession facing the country.
“I think that that is even the best thing to do because if you consider the alternatives, if there is no vaccination and children get sick, it actually costs more to treat illnesses and diseases that will come out of not being vaccinated.”
She also assured of adequate vaccine in the country.
“There has been no stock out of the routine vaccines in the last two years; government is doing a great job. Why we are setting up this process is to ring the alarm, to warn that there is a funding clip coming up beginning from 2017 when the funding from GAVI is going to start declining. We need to have our plans in place, we need to know how we are going to replace the money that is leaving from GAVI. We need to know how we are going to fund the addition of new vaccines that are going into the programme. So, that is why this is really important at this point in time,” she said.