By Joseph Edegbo
An International NGO, New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative says it will continue to align its programs with Federal and State laws and policies, including routine immunization plans and priorities to ensure wider coverage.
It will also continue to demand creation and other components of routine immunization in the three States of Katsina. Jigawa and Zamfara, as well as the national level.
These were part of resolutions adopted at the end of Stakeholders meeting held in Kano, jointly co-hosted by the three States.
Stakeholders, in the three States, the communique said, will provide the necessary support to expand the conditional cash transfers for routine immunization programs to more LGAs and health facilities
The participants noted that immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) saying that there is evidence which suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020).
Health authorities in the three States, the Communique said, agreed to greater ownership of the conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program, confirming that this program is in line with their routine immunisation and public health plans and priorities.
Also, the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, an NGO reinstated its support for the Conditional Cash Transfers for Routine Immunization program, assuring that the MoU between it and New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal initiative will be signed in due course.
Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the State Ministries of Health also reaffirm their commitment to supporting the Programme to strengthen its monitoring and evaluation (M&E) through rapid assessment and analysis of DHIS2 data.
Other parts of the Resolutions are, that the Programme will continue to provide transparent and regular updates, support stakeholders on routine immunization, health and social protection, while the Commissioners of Health in the Three States will continue to provide the needed support to the Programme at all levels and facilitate meetings between the Governors of their State and NI-ABAE representatives.
They are also to encourage the Governors of their States to present the NI-ABAE program gains and successes at the federal level, while the Governors on the other hand, should be engaged to speak to the relevant federal health stakeholders to support the program before the end of 2021.
Similarly, the communique continues, the Executive Secretaries will support the NI-ABAE program at all levels, provide needed guidance to ensure expansion of NI-ABAE program to at least 17 LGAs in Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara States (with a goal to exceed this target), ensure adequate vaccine supply and health workers discipline in all health facilities and as well. engage all relevant state actors to ensure successful conditional cash transfers programming.
Other commitments by the participants include ensuring accountability among health workers and correct reporting of vaccine utilization as well as periodic assessment of the cold chain system, plan preventive maintenance and request improvement to ensure vaccine efficacy.
The meeting was Chaired by the Commissioner of Health, Katsina State, moderated by the Stakeholder Relations Director of NI-ABAE and compered by the PRO Katsina SPHCA.
The objectives of the meeting were to provide programmatic update and expansion plans to stakeholders, obtain their buy-in, and agree on joint-mission strategies to resolve the mixed levels of support for the program at the national level.
New Incentives (NI) is an international non-government organization that aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.
In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements a conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI).
A total of 22 participants including Commissioners of Health from Katsina and Zamfara States, Representative of the Permanent Secretary, SMOH Jigawa State, NPHCDA North West Zonal Cold Chain Officer, Directors of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the SMOHs, Executive Secretaries of SPHCDAs and media organisations attended the meeting.