An NGO, New Incentive-All Babies Are Equal Initiative (NI-ABAE) has disbursed N302. 88 million as incentives to mothers who immunised their children in Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara States.
Dr Obinna Ebirim, Senior Manager of the Initiative, made this known after a meeting with Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III in Sokoto on Friday.
Ebirim said that the goal of the programme was to utilise a package of evidence-based interventions including community mobilisation, sensitisation and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
According to him, defaulter tracking was included to bring about positive health behavioural change and increase immunisation coverage in the three states.
He said that mothers of eligible children were given N500 each during each of the four initial mandatory immunisation visits.
According to him, N2,000 was also given to each beneficiary for the last visit of the immunisation team, in addition to sensitising them on the value of routine immunisation and tracking defaulters.
“ It is believed that this will gradually drive a health behavioural change that ensures that routine immunisation becomes a culture in these communities.
“Mothers will continue to bring their infants for routine immunisation even when the incentive is withdrawn,’’ Ebirim said.
He said that with the introduction of the initiative, immunisation coverage had increased by about 250 per cent in the target areas.
“Meaning that more people who were in the catchment area but were not envisaged as part of the target population have been reached with vaccines that save lives,’’ Ebirim said.
Also speaking, a traditional leader in Jigawa, Alhaji Aminu Dankadai, appreciated the scheme, noting that it had turned around things for the better.
Dankadai, who is the District Head of Aujara in Jigawa, said the programme had facilitated tremendous success in immunisation coverage.
He explained that leaders of communities where the programme was being implemented had unanimously supported the intervention and had made efforts to improve immunisation coverage where it remained low in some of their communities.
Ebirim said the money given to mothers could serve as transport fare for those who lived far from the health facility.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that based on records issued to the Sultanate Council as at March 18, 2019, no fewer than 98 clinics were covered while 105, 712 babies were reached in the three states by the programme.