GHANA – An NGO Consortium in health made up of Socio Serve-Ghana, Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) and the West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF), with Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) as the lead, said immunization in Ghana is under threat due to dwindling donor funding.

In leu of this, the government has been advised to increase the overall health financing budget with a keen look into immunization allocations to sustain operations and more importantly to safeguard the lives of children across the nation.

The consortium met to document successes and best practices on an “Immunization Advocacy Initiative,” a three-year project being implemented by the NGOs, and aimed at increasing domestic financing for immunization.

Ms. Gladys Damalin, Program Manager, Hope for Future Generations, said, looking at the importance of immunization and how donor partners were withdrawing from its funding in many countries, including Ghana, the nation ought to prioritize immunization by committing more funds to it.

This is happening at a time when the devastation caused by the virus has been compounded by another level of looting, in which public procurement has become the center of corruption in a number of African countries.

Funds donated to procure protective gear, vaccines and to cushion citizens during the pandemic have been reportedly misappropriated in the continent. A case in point is where Scidev reported the rampant looting and misappropriation of Covid-19 funds by KEMSA, the chief organization tasked with handling pandemic equipment and supplies in Kenya.

Ms. Damalin also added that successive governments have defaulted in committing required financing to immunization programs and rather depended on donor funding, including GAVI support.

“It was revealed that although Government had signed series of agreements, frameworks and all that, and saying that “I am committed to spending this on immunization”, but when it comes to implementation, that was not the case.

She said among many of the advocacy activities undertaken by the consortium within the period include the building of strategic partnership with the community and national organizations to advocate and bring to the attention of Government and key stakeholders the need to prioritize immunization.

Even though the initiative is ending in October, advocacy will continue with key stakeholders, to drum home their responsibilities towards immunization.

They consortium will also continue to push for the sustenance of an annual increase in financing for immunization in the national budget, which also falls under the broader health budget.