Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the aegis of Africa Health Budget Network, on Wednesday called for the establishment of Nigeria Immunisation Trust Fund to fast track inoculation coverage in the country.

Mr Yusuf Nuhu, the Evidence and Accountability Manager, Africa Health Budget Network, made the call at a news conference in Abuja, as part of activities to commemorate the 2017 Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) 2017.

The coalition was hosted by the Community Health and Research Initiatives, an NGO.

Nuhu said all over the world, CSOs used UHC Day to call on governments to step up actions that would provide equitable health care for all without any form of discrimination.

The coalition, therefore, urged Federal Government to follow suit and implement policies that would provide equitable health care for all without any form of discrimination.

According to him, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and National Immunization Coverage Survey 2017 reports 33 per cent immunisation coverage among children aged 12-23 months, which he says is low,

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He added that “this is against the backdrop that for every one U.S dollar invested in immunisation in Africa, 41 dollars is gained in economic and social benefits,

“Investing in immunisation in Nigeria is the answer to national sustainable growth and development,’’ he said.

He also appealed to the National Assembly to engage the executive arm to increase the 2018 health budget to at least 7.5 per cent of the total 2018 national budget.

Yusuf said the N8.612 trillion 2018 budget proposed N340.456 billion to health sector; N340.456 billion represents about 3.95 per cent of the total national budget.

He noted that the allocation of 3.95 per cent of the total budget to health sector did not comply with the commitment of Federal Government to the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

He explained that the 2001 Abuja Declaration, to which Nigeria was a signatory, stipulated at least 15 per cent of the national budget to health sector.

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He also renewed the appeal for full implementation of the National Health Act 2014, especially article 11 of the Act which provide for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

Yusuf added that the Act, when implemented, would lead to improved lifesaving investments in the health system such as immunisation, family planning and primary health care.

Universal Health Coverage Day, commemorated annually on Dec. 12, is the anniversary of the first unanimous UN resolution that urged countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person everywhere.