The Organization’s National Coordinator, Dr. Obinna Ebirim made this known during a meeting of joint stakeholders from the states in Kano over the weekend. Dr. Ebirim said the caregivers of infants have also received support in form of disbursement of Conditional Cash Transfers, CCTs to the tune of over N900 million. He said the caregivers were given the incentives for availing their child for the routine immunization which has been identified as most cost effective public health intervention saving up to about 3 million lives of children every year.
According to him, “The flagship CCTs for Routine Immunization program operated by All Babies Are Equal, ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles). These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics. “Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit. The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness. “The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in states of Katsina, Zamfara, and Jigawa since 2017. To date, the program has enrolled over 300,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 900 million naira in conditional cash transfers,” he said.
Dr. Ebirim promised to expand the intervention to 16 LGAs and health facilities in the states just as he drop hint of extension of program to other states. Earlier, the Commissioner of Health, Katsina State, Engr. Yakubu Nuhu Danja said with the intervention by the organization, New Incentives- All Babies Are Equal – infant mortality has reduced in the state. He assured of government readiness to support the organization to expand the intervention across the state. “The North entirely not only Katsina has the challenge of infant mortality. MICs 2016 puts the indices neonatal deaths at 35 to 1,000 deaths while the infant mortality at 68 to 1,000 live birth and under 5 is 135 to 1,000. “And most of these mortalities are caused as a result of so many non-challatant attitude by the parents especially when it comes to vaccine preventable diseases that we can avoid. “We are sure with the coming of your program, has tremendously assisted in bringing the figure down. If we are to conduct another survey, I’m sure we are going to see the impact on the indices,” Engr. Danja said. In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Shamsudeen Yahaya said it routine immunization coverage in the state has increased from 12 per cent in 2016 to over 38 per cent with the intervention, CCTs innovations by the new incentives.