Contributions of the Northern Traditional Leaders to the 2017 or 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign in the Northern States of Nigeria - Abstract
Introduction: Traditional Leaders are known to be relevant stakeholders as they demonstrate remarkable authority through which political and religious leaders reach out to the members of a given community. Traditional Leaders resolve disputes and enforce government directives on their subjects, leading to peace and stability with enhanced community involvement at addressing community needs. We reviewed the 2017/2018 MVC (Measles Vaccination Campaign) data to demonstrates the impact of the Northern Traditional Leaders’ support to the campaign in the northern states of Nigeria Methods: We reviewed all documents linked to the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) activities, during the 2017/2018 measles vaccination exercise in the northern part of Nigeria. The documents information included notes of the meetings held with the Leaders, collation of the signed engagement, documentation that involved their physical presence either at the flag-off, during the evening review meetings and in resolving conflicts in their respective communities as well as direct involvement in the campaign supervision. Results: All the 20 states of the North participated in advocacy and sensitisation meetings at their various states, but only four (20%) followed up with their states to release counterpart funds. The NTL chaired 15 (75%) of all the 20 Northern states, 2017/2018 MVC flag-off ceremonies that were conducted at the states. Overall, the northern States recorded an average vaccination coverage of 88.2% during the 2017/2018 MVC. Twelve (60%) of the northern states recorded vaccination coverages of ?90%. Conclusion: The impact of Traditional Leaders involvement in the 2017/2018 MVC is evident by the remarkable difference in the number of children reached with the vaccine in the northern states of Nigeria. For the first time in measles vaccination campaigns in Nigeria, a special presentation was made to the Northern Traditional Leaders with special task for their support during the campaign. Their influence at each level of decision making and in the patriarchal society of northern Nigeria provides a trusted platform for directly engaging them on important issues, including primary health care services in the country.