Accra, April 1, GNA - The consistent low budgetary allocation by government to the health sector continues to affect immunisation programmes despite the immense benefits of such interventions, especially to children.
Ms Gladys Damalin, the Programme Manager, for the Immunisation Advocacy Initiative (IAI) project, said current government’s total share of health expenditure for 2021, which was just 7.5 percent, fell short of the 15 percent allocation target agreed on, under the Abuja Declaration.
According to her, the cost of immunisation in Ghana, was rising without a corresponding increment in government funding, explaining that the country’s enviable vaccination coverage was riding mainly on the back of donors, which was not sustainable.
She said although the country had attained an immunisation target of over 90 percent, saving the lives of thousands of children, the funding gap created by the transitioning of donors, especially GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, could adversely affect the gains made.
Ms Damalin, who was speaking at a media engagement on immunisation financing in Accra, said Ghana was expected to fully transition from the GAVI support in 2026, after which the government would be responsible for increasing its annual share of vaccine and vaccine delivery cost.
She said Ghana, according to the Country Multi-Year Plan for 2020-2024, would require over $514 billion to fund its immunisation activities, however, only a total of $266,521,876 had been assured, leaving a funding gap of $247.655 billion.
There was the need to urgently focus on domestic mobilisation of additional resources to ensure sustainability of programmes when the financiers are gone, she said.
The meeting, which was organised by the three implementing institutions of the three-year IAI project, namely the Hope for Future Generation (HFFG), SEND-Ghana, and the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, sought to engage media practitioners on possible ways of increasing advocacy for improved domestic funding to help close the current financing gap for immunisation.
Ms Damalin explained that IAI spanned from 2019 to 2021, with the vision to jointly advocate an increase in domestic resource allocation for immunisation programmes.
It was focused on efforts including; evidence generation through holding policy cafes at the regional level to collate citizen priorities on matters concerning immunisation, engage influencers and stakeholders at national, regional and district levels and build capacities of other Civil Society Organisations to act as champions for improved immunisation financing, she said.
Mrs Cecilia Senoo, the Executive Director of the Hope for Future Generation (HFFG), said the gains governmennt made in immunisation coverage, may not be sustained if domestic funding for the activities remained limited.
She, therefore, called for intensified media advocacy to push the government in mobilising additional domestic funding through its enhanced taxation policies, and also through public and private partnership, while committing more of such mobilised funding into health, with prioritisation for immunisation.
Mr Richard Anane Adortse, a Consultant of the IAI with SEND Ghana, said the Government’s projected expenditure for immunisation was predicted to grow from $5.3 million in 2020 to $8.9 million in 2022, reaching $13 million in 2024.
That was to be achieved through a commitment to the implementation of a mordernised and strengthened tax policy and administration to increase tax revenue from 12.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product to about 23 percent by 2028, he said.
Mr Kingsley Addai Frimpong, Representing the WHO, urged the Ministry of Finance to be consistent in its annual budgetary allocation to routine immunisation activities to ensure no child was left behind.
He said to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), government must find additional funding to achieve immunisation coverage, adding that the WHO had provided various transitional support to the country to ensure sustainability of the gains made, and assured the country of a continuous partnership towards that common goal.