Teenagers are leading advocacy to influence federal and state governments to increase funding that will ensure immunisation services are sustained.

Students from four schools in Abuja faced off in a debate to argue whether state and federal governments should co-fund vaccine procurement and immunisation services—and whether federal government should establish an immunisation trust fund.

Both issues have been contentious in the light of funding from the Global Vaccine Alliance expected to wind down support in time.

The debate is a project by the Youth Advocacy for Sustainable and Equitable Vaccine Access, run by the African Youth Initiative on Population, Health and Development (AfrYPoD).

AfrYPoD does research and evidence-based advocacy to highlight development gaps, propose innovative solutions and develop youth-centred strategies that promote sustainable development, said its country representative Mukhtar Ijaiya.

The concern is crucial as Nigeria budgeted N12.6 billion for immunisation chain in 2017—a venture that actually requires N114 billion, according to Dr Ben Anyene, chair of the National Immunisation Financing Task team, seeking to raise innovative sources to finance immunisation in Nigeria.

“We have done the numbers, we think the states should co-fund,” he said at the debate he chaired.

“The passion and knowledge demonstrated by the students during the debate were quite encouraging and admirable,” said Daniel Ogangwu, on the organising team for the debate.

“We are so excited to be helping to raise young advocates for sustainable and equitable vaccine access.”