The Routine Immunization Buddy System (RIBS)
Itoro Ata of the Solina Center for International Development and Research in Nigeria will implement a program to support unemployed mothers in Nigeria by linking education on the importance of vaccinations with vocational skills education and training to improve immunization coverage. Many rural areas in Nigeria have consistently low rates of routine immunization and large populations of unemployed, stay-at-home mothers whose children are at risk of vaccine-preventable disease. They will create a direct link between community health systems and economic empowerment programs focused on vocational skill development by creating the Routine Immunization Buddy System (RIBS). Mothers in the program will be placed in small support groups and paired with another woman within the group. The lead woman of each group will be trained by community health workers to provide practical information on vaccines using a teaching tool called Hannun Rigakafi (the immunization hand). Women in the RIBS groups will also be taught about possible work options, such as farming, and offered associated tools and training. Pairing education on vaccines with vocational training should help boost the confidence of the mothers and better motivate them to complete the five routine childhood immunizations for their children. The program will be piloted in the Kaduna state of Nigeria and evaluated for improving vaccination knowledge and demand.