CSOs call for more domestic funding to sustain immunisation in Ghana

By Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Dec. 13, GNA – The Government has been
called upon to increase domestic funding towards national immunisation
programmes and other health initiatives as donor partners gradually weaned-off
their support to the country.

Civil Society activists at a roundtable
discussion in Accra said since immunisation is a poverty reduction strategy
that decreased the magnitude of vaccine-preventable diseases, it was needful
for the government to invest “greatly into it to sustain the gains made over
the years.

The activists made the call in Accra, where
they met to deliberate on the Immunisation Advocacy Initiative (IAI), a
three-year advocacy project, meant to impress on the government to increase
domestic financing towards immunisation.

The IAI is funded by the African Population
Health Research Centre (APHRC) and is being implemented by SEND Ghana and a
consortium of other NGOs, namely the Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), the
Ghana Registered Midwives Association, Socio-Serve and the West African AIDS
Foundation, and the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health.

In a contribution, Mrs Cecilia Senoo,
Executive Director, HFFG, said most of the interventions within the health
sector including; immunisation were mainly donor funded, a source of concern,
should the donors pullout anytime.

She said the health and lives of many
Ghanaian children would be at risk should donors decide to pullout eventually,
as many were doing in most countries.

According to Mrs Senoo, CSOs have a critical
role to play in advocating the state to commit more funding into immunisation
interventions aside it leading role in such intervention.

She said the state also needed to up its
game in meeting its co-financing agreements with international bodies like
GAVI, a public–private global health partner committed to increasing access to
immunisation globally.

In a presentation on immunisation financing
in Ghana, Mr Ebow Dadzie, a Deputy Programme Manager at the Expanded Programme
on Immunisation (EPI), revealed that Ghana was one of the three countries in
the world that did not meet its co- financing commitments with GAVI in 2018.

Mr Dadzie said in spite of the many national
efforts, there were high numbers of unimmunised children in the urban and
peri-urban areas and other hard to reach communities in the Volta Basin in the
country.

He therefore, emphasised the need to improve
immunisation coverage in those areas, while strengthening partnership for
immunisation coverage and innovative ways of financing health services.

On her part, Ms Gladys Damalin, the
Programmes and Advocacy Manager for the Immunisation Advocacy Initiative (IAI),
expressed worry that the cost of immunisation was rising without a
corresponding increment in government funding.

“The donor influence in immunisation
activities in Ghana was immense, but the gains that the Government made in
immunisation coverage may not be sustainable if we continue to rely only on
donors to fund immunisation,” she said.

Ms Damalin noted that the IAI aims to ensure
that the proportion of the budget allocation to immunisation increased yearly
in order to ensure thorough immunisation programme nationwide.

She explained that the objective of the CSO
roundtable discussions at the national and regional levels was to introduce to
stakeholders, the IAI’s advocacy agenda and solicit their support on domestic
financing for immunisation.

GNA

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