Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, has reaffirmed government’s strong support for New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative’s Conditional Cash Transfer’s for routine immunization program in the State.
The Governor gave this indication while receiving advisors and staff of New Incentives who paid him a courtesy visit .
“Routine immunization is very important and critical in the life of a baby while growing up. Monetary incentive is very good and the N500 disbursed during every immunization session is very important for women in rural communities. The State Ministry of Health will continue to support you to do more,” he said.
On the appeal to champion conditional cash transfer for routine immunization, Governor Masari who accepted the challenge, promised to speak to his counterparts in other States and the Minister of Health.
The Governor called for greater geographical spread of the program taking into consideration, the urban-poor.
In a remark, the State Commissioner for Health, Yakubu Nuhu Danja noted that the roles played by New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative have not only strengthened routine immunization, but also raised the immunization coverage in the State
Earlier, the National Coordinator of New Incentives, Dr. Obinna Ebirim, had thanked the governor for the support given to the programme since 2017 when it began operation in the State.
“We are proud to have a great partner in you in this journey to save the lives of Katsina children from vaccine-preventable deaths. Immunization is one of the most important public health interventions known to mankind, saving up to 3 million lives globally every year.
“Our program increases demand for routine childhood immunization through an evidence-based intervention that includes community mobilization, sensitization, conditional cash transfers, and defaulter tracking”, he reemphasised.
An independent impact assessment of the program from 2017 to 2020, according to the Coordinator, revealed that children in areas with the New Incentives’ intervention in Katsina State were 15 to 28 percentage points and more likely to have received vaccinations against deadly diseases, such as Measles, Tuberculosis, and Diphtheria, than children in control areas”.
Dr. Ebirim said the Initiative which has been operating the conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program in Katsina State since 2017, has so far enrolled over 110,000 infants whose caregivers have received more than N320 million in direct verified cash disbursements .
This is in addition to New Incentives’ indirect investments in the state’s economy, such as the over N160 million spent in 2020 alone on disbursements, salaries, engagement of community helpers, support to government health agencies, and purchase from local markets , the Coordinator enumerated.
The program, Ebirim added, has led to a significant increase in the likelihood that a child in areas where the program operates will receive vaccinations against deadly diseases, or fully immunized according to the national immunization schedule.
This is an incredibly important feat as North Western Nigeria, according to the Coordinator, has one of the lowest childhood immunization rates in Nigeria.
High point at the event was the
Champion of Conditional Cash Transfer for Routine Immunization Award presented to the Governor by All Babies Are Equal Initiative
The occasion was attended by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Deputy Governor, Grand Khadi of Katsina State, Commissioners as well as
representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning who were in the State for a monitoring visit of NI-ABAE program.
The Executive Secretary of Katsina State Primary Health Agency, Dr Shamsudeen Yahaya and the Stakeholder Relations Director of NI-ABAE, Mr Nura Muhammad were also in attendance.