States that fail to release funding for measles vaccination by September 15 will be ruled out of the next vaccination campaign, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has warned.
Only four states have paid any part of the fund; the other 33 are still silent.
The warning—arising from a resolution between the agency, the federal health ministry and development partners—comes as a campaign begins this October to vaccinate children aged nine months to five years against measles.
NPHCDA executive director Faizal Shuaib told a press briefing in Abuja on Monday: “We cannot continue to have poor quality coverage campaign in this country that leaves our children susceptible to measles infections and deaths.”
In 2014, measles was recorded in 190 children out of every one million n aged under five in the north, according to surveillance data.
Last year, incidence of the disease climbed to 527 children out of every one million.
Low coverage for measles vaccination has increased transmission of the disease-causing virus among children less than 10 years old, Shuaib said.
And movement of internally displaced people from recently liberated areas has made local populations increasingly susceptible and exposed.
At least 166 outbreaks affecting 140 council areas across the country were recorded in 2015. Last year, outbreaks jumped to 183 last year.
The campaign starts in the northwest on October 26, but only Kebbi among states in the region has paid its counterpart funding into an account dedicated for the vaccination, after the agency met with the Nigeria Governor’s Forum.
Borno, Nasarawa and Imo have also paid their part, but Kano state government paid N9 million out of more than N50 million, leaving local governments to pay the balance.
The campaign shifts to the north east by November 30, the north central by February 1 and all southern states by March 8.
The federal government has released N3.5 billion to fund the current campaign this October.
World Health Organisation country representative in Nigeria Wondi Alemu commended prompt allocation and complete release of funding for the campaign, considered a marked departure from regular budget precedence.
“Several lessons have been learnt from past campaigns, and great potential exist in country,” said Alemu.