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The Southern Religious and Traditional Leaders Engagement

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The Southern Religious and Traditional Leaders Engagement

Nigeria has been experiencing an ongoing transmission of circulating Variant Poliovirus type 2 (cVPV2) due to decline in type 2 population immunity, despite being certified free of wild poliovirus (WPV) in 2020.

While the number of cVPV2 cases has decreased by about 84% in the last year, the presence of under-immunized and unimmunized children remains a risk across the southern states.

To address this problem, the NPHCDA has set out to leverage the influence of traditional and religious leaders (TRLs) as revered opinion leaders in the society to positively influence the health seeking behavior of their community members and audience to enhance health outcomes across the Southern region.

The broad goal of this intervention is to increase community awareness, and demand for Polio vaccination, Routine Immunization, and Primary Health Care services through the influence of TRLs in Southern Nigeria. For specific objectives, the project seeks to establish and strengthen platforms for the engagement of traditional and religious leaders on vaccination uptake, leverage TRLs platforms to increase the awareness of cVPV2, increase demand for polio vaccination, routine immunization, and COVID-19 vaccination, and increase awareness and uptake of other PHC services.

To achieve the objectives of this project, a four-step implementation process is being employed. This includes landscape analysis, inauguration of TRLs, periodic review meetings, and demand generation (advocacy visits, palace outreaches, vaccination drive, capacity building for focal persons, community engagement—sensitization, awareness), which will run through out the project’s cycle.

We look forward to achieving the objectives of this intervention through the systematic engagement of the traditional and religious leaders who are the people’s ears and eyes, and who have a strong influence on their decision-making and health-seeking behaviors.

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