AMURT has been working in Nigeria’s Ebonyi State since 2010. AMURT is working in partnership with communities, state and local government health departments and local NGOs PAP (Partnership Against Poverty) and NIWA (Neighborhood Initiative for Women’s Advancement) to extend primary healthcare services to the remote villages. In the first phase we have established primary health centers. In the second phase we will focus on extending maternal health services to every mother in every village in the project area. Health workers make home visits to all pregnant women to sensitize, educate and encourage them to come to the new health centers for antenatal care and delivery. In the third phase we will turn our attention to water and sanitation by drilling boreholes and providing training for WASHCOM (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees). The training covers water management, maintenance of boreholes, human rights, leadership and conflict resolution. The program focuses on bringing women into leadership and also offers skills training for income generation.
In 2010, AMURT launched a program in Nigeria aimed at developing community healthcare systems and reducing the country’s maternal mortality rate, one of the world’s highest. Providing some of Nigeria’s poorest and most rural areas with proper health facilities warrants the service of more than one NGO, so AMURT has teamed with ActionAid Nigeria as well as Nigeria’s overwhelmed state health department and the members of local communities to accomplish this task.
AMURT was invited to take part in a primary healthcare initiative to finish construction on three new primary care facilities. The project was started several years ago by a local women’s group, whose members contributed 10 Niara each to establish foundations for the sites and initiate a call to action. ActionAid contributed building materials and AMURT committed to provide furniture, medical equipment, drugs, supplies and construction of bathrooms. Meanwhile, pressure was being placed on local and state health departments to post health workers to the new facilities. Initial reluctance gave way to success as government health officials agreed to help staff the centers. The three health centers at Omege, Ephenium and Offia Oji were officially opened by Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ebonyi State. The opening ceremony was well covered by local and national media. To accommodate the heightened demand for both inpatient and outpatient services, AMURT will build three additional rooms at that location.
AMURT uses the World Health Organization’s ‘Continuum of Care’ model for maternal, newborn and child health that includes integrated service delivery for mothers and children, lasting through pregnancy and delivery as well as the immediate postnatal period and early childhood. This model provides a strong foundation for a family’s health and a path to progress.
AMURT has committed to a three-year program for Nigeria’s Ebonyi State. In addition to clinical services, our programs include supplementary training for the health workers, extensive health education in the thirty-four villages in the project area, and community outreach programs, providing a basis for the sustained health of the Nigerian people for years to come. The first phase of the plan is to define and perfect a model with the first three centers.
We have started five rural health centres in two project areas. A sixth health centre in a third project is under construction. In 2011 we had 23 maternal deaths in the two project areas. In 2012 this was down to six deaths. In 2013 it was down to three, and in 2014 we have only had one maternal death in our two project areas. This has been achieved through a very comprensive and community-driven approach, that is still in development as we monitor and evaluate the work to see how we can improve.
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