Retaining skilled birth attendants in northern Nigeria. PRRINN-MNCH

Authors: Health Partners International
Document Type: Policy and technical briefs
Publication Date: 2013

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Recruitment and retention of SBAs have been hampered by inadequate training and supervision of staff as well as some cultural norms in the area.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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Tags: Nigeria, Social norm change, Training, Immunisation, Maternal health, Skilled delivery, Antenatal care, Obstetric danger signs, Obstetric knowledge, Skilled birth attendants, Coverage, Child health, PRRINN-MNCH, Performance-based financing, Midwifery, Maternal mortality, SBAs, Health systems strengthening,