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Nigeria scrambles over vaccine as GAVI winds down

Nigeria’s parliament has said it will commit adequate budgetary allocations to pay for vaccines and effective immunization.

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This is as the country gets closer to losing support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, which has helped fund immunisation in years past.

It comes as lawmakers go on two days of retreat to consider strategies for immunisation and strengthening primary health care.

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Muhammad Usman, deputy chair of the House of Representatives committee on health, said both the House and the Senate are concluding effective legislations to guarantee adequate funds for vaccine procurement, immunisation services and PHC in general, beginning from 2018 financial year.

GAVI has supported immunisation in Nigeria for years, but Nigeria is close to losing support for immunisation after a rebasing of its economy pulled the country out of the league of low-income countries.

A rollback of funding has begun and Nigeria is expected to take total control for funding immunisation by 2021 at least.

The retreat with lawmakers, organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), which oversees primary health care across the country, is expected to reach “common alignment and understanding” between Nigerian government, its partners, donors and development partners on the transition out of GAVI funding.

The retreat will also consider “how to navigate the roadmap that has been outlined,” said NPHCDA executive director Faisal Shuaib.

It will also produce a document describing how to sustain financing for immunisation, improve vaccine coverage and ensure equity, said Shuaib.

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