A non Governmental Organization New Incentives has reaffirmed its commitment in advocating for improved child health in four Northwest States in Nigeria.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE, Nura Muhammad disclosed this during a meeting with stakeholders from the states held in Kano.

He said the Non Governmental Organization had received a grant of $29 million under its project tagged “All Babies Are Equal” targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States of Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

He explained that the childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal disease and measles.

Mr Nura Mohammad maintained that the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over one million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

“The organization 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 the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by 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 CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018. To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers”

“An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points. Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program”

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and 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),”

In a remark , the Katsina State Commissioner for Health Yakubu Nuhu Dan’ja commended the activities of “New Incentive- All Babies Are Equal “in Katsina State.

“Before the commencement of the new incentive program in Katsina State alot of parents and care giver felt reluctant in the aspect of taking their children for immunization despite the Sensitization by Government,but with the provision of some logistics and incentives by the NGO,mother’s and care givers are now rushing to forward their children to facilities for immunization”

The meeting was attended by stakeholders from the benefitting States.

Abdullahi Jalaluddeen