Experts Say Condition Cash Transfer, Other Incentives Improve Likelihood of High Number of Immunised Children

Experts Say Condition Cash Transfer, Other Incentives Improve Likelihood of High Number of Immunised Children

  • Implementatation of incentives programe is key to improved immunisation among children in northern Nigeria
  • This was suggested by stakeholder at the end of the meeting on the New Incentives-All Babies Are Equal (NI-ABAE)
  • Accoridng to the stakeholders, governors of the various implemnting states are expected to present their progress with the program

Experts have said that the introduction of incentives like the Conditional Cash Transfer to mothers and parents of newborns improves the chances of having more babies complete their immunisation plans.

This was agreed by stakeholders at the end of the meeting on the implementation of the New Incentives-All Babies Are Equal (NI-ABAE) program which took place in Kano state.

Immunisation of children, Conditional cash transfers, health of newborn
Experts have said that incentives contribute to an improved number of fully immunised Nigerian children. Photo: Kure
Source: UGC

At the meeting widely attended by NI-ABAE officials and policymakers from the implementing States - Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Bauchi and Gombe - the stakeholders said the program will continue to align with the Federal and State laws, as well as policies including immunization plans and priorities.

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All health authorities states agreed to higher ownership of the immunisation program following its impact and alignment with routine immunization and public health plans and priorities across the country.

In a 12-point communique issued at the end of the meeting, the states agreed to provide an enabling environment for NI-ABAE to support programme expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer for Routine immunization to more local government areas' health facilities and infants.

State govenments' contributions and efforts

Also, ministries of health in the state would through their commissioners facilitate meetings between governors and NI-ABAE representatives.

They are expected at the meeting to encourage the governors to present the program's gains and successes at every forum including the national health stakeholders to support the program.

The stakeholders also agreed that NI-ABAE should intensify engagement with traditional institutions and other community influencers to aid the successful implementation of all components of the program.

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In addition, the NI-ABAE through the implementing states should continue to provide transparent and regular updates to all stakeholders and support on routine immunization, health, and social protection.

At the meeting it was also agreed that there would be a constant review of program progress, sharing of experiences including challenges, and proffering of solutions to implementation gaps.

The communique read in part:

"To receive updates from the NI-ABAE Stakeholder Relations Unit and Operations Unit on future expansion plans from the NI-ABAE supported program, including the contingency plan for program phase out.
The participants discussed extensively on vaccine supply, use of program data and ownership of the supported CCT Program by the state government."

NI-ABAE has been working in Nigeria since 2017, providing conditional cash incentives to select parents, to avail their infants access to full immunization against childhood-killer diseases, including BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV 1&2 (against measles).

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The program currently covers over 960,000 children in six states of northern Nigeria and will expand to cover additional five states in 2023.

The caregiver of each infant receives N500 each for the first four routine immunization visits and N2,500 for the fifth and sixth visits.

The CCT is expected to compensate for transportation to the hospital, loss of trading income, and waiting time. It is also geared towards creating behavioural change and awareness of routine immunization.

An assessment of the program between 2017 and 2020 showed that the CCT program increases the likelihood of children being fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

The communique was signed by representatives of implementing state government and NI-ABAE.

They include Shamsuddeen Yahaya, the executive secretary of Katsina State Primary Healthcare Agency; Abdulwahab Ahmad, senior health adviser, NGF (NI-ABAE Adviser); Neyu Iliyasu, DF & CHS, SPHCDA Kaduna State and Murtala Hassan, SPHCDB, Zamfara State.

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Others are Aminu Inuwa, director Program, of Sultan Foundation and Nura Muhammad, stakeholder relations director, NI-ABAE.

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Health workers have also been called upon to ensure to every pregnant woman is tested during ANC.

The testing should also go beyond breastfeeding and continued even after the infant has been weaned.

'Tuberculosis infection among children on increase', Expert raises strong alarm, advises FG

In other news, the Nigerian Government had earlier been asked to pay more attention to the spread of Tuberculosis among children in the country.

The call was made by the executive director of the Stop TB Partnership Geneva, Lucica Ditiu on Wednesday, August 24.

According to Ditiu, there is a need to close the funding gap in tuberculosis prevention, treatment and management processes.


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