The World Health Organisation, WHO, has confirmed that Nigeria needs to invest over N68bn on vaccines in order to reduce infant mortality in the country.
Salisu Yusuf, Executive Director, Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency, who spoke during a one-day event to mark Africa Vaccine Week, organised by the Community Health and Research Initiative, in partnership with NSPHCDA, in Minna, Niger State said, “By 2020, it will cost about N9,000 per year to vaccinate a child with current and proposed new vaccines. Government’s share of the vaccine programme costs in 2015 is about N21bn.
“This is expected to rise to N37bn in 2016 and then N68bn by 2020. While in 2013, it was estimated that more than 800,000 children under the age of five died, and most of the leading causes of child deaths, which include malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, injury, meningitis and measles are vaccine preventable.”
Continuing he suggested that “Adding vaccines into the current RI schedule can save an additional 1.2 million lives between 2015 and 2020, and by preventing diseases and deaths, vaccines save money from treatment cost, lost income and productivity loss, investing to raise coverage of new vaccines to 90 percent could yield N3trn in economic gains for the Nigerian economy.”
Yusuf stressed that without an increase in government funding for vaccines, the less-privileged in the society would be denied access to immunisation services due to inability to pay.
In a presentation on Routine Immunisation Issues and Finances, he said that Nigeria had reduced mortality by 22 per cent “Irrespective of the gains, Nigeria’s under-five mortality rate is 128 deaths per 1,000 live births. This implies that one in every eight children dies before their fifth birthday,” he said.