In 2017, Johns Hopkins IVAC through Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) sponsored one of our advocacy strategies to policy makers on Immunization financing in the light of GAVI’s exit. It was tagged “Bringing Out the Advocates in Women in Parliament (BAWP)”. We mapped out a pool of strong passionate and vocal women in the National paliament who were to call out the Executives; compel them to produce a Transition plan; advocate for the importance of Immunization in their constituencies; support and defend increase in funds appropriated for vaccines in the budget for 2018. The women identified are: Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Binta Masi Garba, Senator Stella Odua, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, Hon. Rita Orji, Hon. Princess Adedoyin, Hon. Sodaguwa. We paid different advocacy visits throughout the rest of the project period to 5 of these women. They were enlightened on the state of immunization in the country as well as the provisions of the 2014 National Health Act.
They all did their bits, for example Hon. Nnenna Ukeje supported a motion raised by Hon. Usman on Immunization financing, she invited the Director of legal service in National Institute of Legislative Studies, Dr. S Danwanka to see if there was need for either introduction of a new bill or amendment of existing one so as to address the shortage in immunization financing. It was opined that it is the implementation of the existing laws that is paramount. she however promised to raise the issue along budgetary lines in order to increase the funds appropriated for immunization/basic health care in the 2018 budget so as to reflect the reality of Gavi’s exit. It is no wonder that the 1% of the CRF as stipulated in the National Health Act was included in the Budget for 2018.