This press article, featured in IRIN Africa, focuses on the Partnership for Reviving Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria and the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Initiative (PRRINN-MNCH), which tracked the under-documented maternal population in the four northern Nigerian states of Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, and Zamfara
It also discusses how in 2007 the Nigerian government launched a nine-year strategy to bring down maternal, neo-natal and infant mortality, including though better immunisations for mothers and babies, nutritional supplements, bed nets, and efforts to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. The strategy then shifted to focus on training health workers, and giving them better salaries and incentives to work in rural areas.
The country’s primary healthcare agency has been training midwives to work in rural areas for several years. In 2009 it set up the Midwife Service Scheme (MSS), to improve maternal care by sending recently graduated midwives to the north during their mandatory year of national service. By July 2010 more than 2,600 midwives had been sent to serve northern rural health facilities.
The Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has also set up schemes in four northern states to provide better emergency transportation to hospitals, however women in those areas do not always use these schemes. The article emphasises that it is still important to get communities more involved by training village-level health workers to recognize danger signs during pregnancy.