This study evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention that engaged traditional barbers to inform parents about the importance of vaccination and then refer newborns for vaccination services.
We conducted a pre-post quasi-experimental study (n = 2639) to evaluate changes in the coverage of three birth antigens among children aged 0-5 months in response to the intervention. We also conducted in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to assess the enabling factors and challenges associated with implementation.
We found mothers who received a yellow referral card from a traditional barber were two to three times more likely to vaccinate their children with the three birth antigens. Qualitative findings indicated that the intervention influenced parent’s decision to vaccinate their newborn because the barbers were considered a trusted community advisor. Challenges stemmed from the low levels of literacy among community leaders and barbers that resulted in the need for continuous training, low-literacy training materials and supervision.
Efforts to increase vaccine coverage rates in northern Nigeria should consider expanding the role of traditional barbers to encourage parents to accept vaccines.