This is the second in a series of five technical briefs on the theme of governance and systems, that draws on the results and lessons learned from the PRRINN-MNCH programme. This particular brief focuses on addressing human resources for health services in northern Nigeria. The key messages are:
New initiatives are helping to combat the shortage of skilled birth attendants in the region.
- The critical shortage of skilled birth attendants (SBAs) in the northern states is a significant factor in maternal fatalities – 40,000 Nigerian woman died in pregnancy and childbirth in 2010.
- Recruitment and retention of SBAs have been hampered by inadequate training and supervision of staff as well as some cultural norms in the area.
- Significant progress has been made in increasing coverage and availability of midwives in rural health facilities resulting in more than double the number of deliveries conducted by SBAs.
- PRRINN-MNCH conducted surveys to identify issues and highlighted measures to attract and retain SBAs including improved education and career structure, as well as motivational incentives.