By Victor Habila, Kaduna
The New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative (NI-ABAE) says it will continue to align its programs with Nigerian Federal and State laws and policies, including routine immunization plans and priorities.
This was part of their resolution at the just-concluded stakeholders’ meeting of NI-ABAE program in Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara States held at Tahir Guest Palace, Kano State.
NI-ABAE described immunization as one of the most effective public health interventions that saves about 2 to 3 million lives every year, saying there is evidence that 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).
This was contained in a communique jointly signed by Health Commissioner of Katsina state, Engr. Yakubu Nuhu Danja, Health Commissioner of Zamfara state, Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad Kanoma, and the Rep. of the Perm. Secretary of Jigawa state ministry of health, Dr. Kabir Ibrahim.
After extensive deliberations and discussions on the Conditional Cash Transfers for Routine Immunization (CCTs for RI) program of NI-ABAE, it was resolved that the Stakeholders in Katsina, Jigawa, and Zamfara States will provide all the necessary support to expand the conditional cash transfers for routine immunization programs to more LGAs and health facilities.
The communique reads; “The New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative will continue to support demand creation and other components of routine immunization in the three States and at the national level.
“Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara States health authorities agreed to greater ownership of the conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program, confirming that this program is in line with its routine immunisation and public health plans and priorities.”
NI-ABAE further said “The Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development reinstated its support for the Conditional Cash Transfers for Routine Immunization program, assuring that the MoU between Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development and New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal initiative will be signed in due course.
“The Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the State Ministries of Health committed to support New Incentives – All Babies Are Equal Initiative to strengthen its monitoring and evaluation (M&E) through rapid assessment and analysis of DHIS2 data.”
The forum said it would Continue to provide transparent and regular updates, and will support stakeholders on routine immunization, health and social protection.
They promised to facilitate meetings between the Governors of their States and NI-ABAE representatives by encouraging the Governors to present the NI-ABAE program gains and successes at the federal level, adding that it will engage the Governors to speak to the relevant federal health stakeholders to support the NI-ABAE program before the end of 2021.
NI-ABAE also stated that it would 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 the target.
A total of 22 participants were in attendance including Commissioners of Health from Katsina and Zamfara States, Representative of the Permanent Secretary of SMOH Jigawa State, NPHCDA North West Zonal Cold Chain Officer, Directors of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the SMOHs, Executive Secretaries of SPHCDAs, Primary Health Care Directors of SPHCDAs, and Program Managers of SERICCs in Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara States. Others include Director of Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development (SFPD), media organizations, NI-ABAE Government Relations Advisors and staff of NI-ABAE