The Programs Manager of the Hope For Future Generations, (HFFG), Gladys Damalin has called for increase domestic financing for immunization. To achieve this, she further called on the Ghanaian media to strongly advocate and influence the government’s decision to act with urgency and help increase the domestic financing for immunization in the country.
Increase domestic financing for immunization
This, according to her, is the surest way to close the gaps in the health sector thereby helping the country achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“We want you to go with us, accompany us on this journey, calling on parliamentarians, calling on political leaders, calling on the government to help increase funding for domestic immunization to end health challenges in Ghana”.
Gladys Damalin made the plea while speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a media encounter held at the Conference room of the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra on Wednesday March 31, 2021.
The forum dubbed: “meeting with media editors on immunization financing” brought together a cross-section of seasoned Ghanaian media editors drawn from both the traditional and electronic media divide to brainstorm, share ideas and proffer solutions on how to tackle issues the country’s health sector is bedeviled with.
It was equally an avenue to update the media practitioners in the country on the gaps encountered under the Immunization Advocacy Initiative (IAI) campaign and solicit for their support to help deal amicably with them.
In her opening remark, the Executive Director of Hope For Future Generations, (HFFG), Cecilia Senoo lauded the efforts, passion and commitment exuded by all the implementing partners working under the IAI campaign since its inception in 2019.
While citing a recent promise made by president Nana Akufo-Addo in regards to setting aside adequate resources for covid-19 vaccines, she quickly added: “so we must push the data harder to ensure that this becomes a sustainable resource for immunization”.
Ghana has attained the immunization target of over 90%, saving the lives of thousands of children. The country became the second country in the world to align its resource allocation to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2019, providing a unique opportunity to engage in health system strengthening, primary healthcare, and universal healthcare discussions.
But the country’s health system relies heavily on external funding of both supply chain and service delivery.
Again despite the gains, Ghana continues to have challenges in meeting its co-funding obligations to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
According to Richard Anane Addotei, an officer at SEND Ghana, this should be a concern to all Ghanaians. He believes the gains made by the government of Ghana in immunization coverage may not be sustainable if domestic funding for immunization remains limited.
“It’s a big threat when plans and assurances are not put in place when donors withdraw or maybe GAVI or co-finding obligations come to an end”.
“We are not sure where the government can raise that amount because as we are speaking, there’s no dedicated source”, he laments.
Richard who doubles as a Monitoring Officer under the IAI campaign questioned the government’s inability to fulfil its co-financing agreement.
“When you look at the national budget, the location of health is below 15% as per the Abuja Declaration so there’s absolutely a huge gap there which needs to be fixed”, he stressed.
While referring to the Immunization Advocacy Initiative as a panacea to the country’s health challenges, he quickly appealed to the government to endeavor to help increase domestic financing for immunization in Ghana to bring the country closer to achieving the SDGs as well as the Universal Health Coverage.
For his part, WHO Representative to Ghana, Dr. Francis C. Kasolo in a speech read on his behalf said, “To achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Ghana will need to find ways of mobilizing additional revenues for the health sector, including immunization services.
The Immunization Advocacy Initiative (IAI) is a three-year project (2019-2021) with funding from African Population Health Research Center (APHRC).
The overall goal of the project is to advocate for the government to increase domestic financing for immunization. This initiative is being implemented by SEND GHANA, Hope for Future Generations consortium Ghana Registered Midwives Association, SocioServ & West African Aids Foundation and Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health.
Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor