This Women for Health programme briefing provides an overview of the five year DFID-funded programme, the overall purpose, aim, outputs and most recent results. The programme contributes to improving maternal outcomes by addressing the shortage of female health workers, especially midwives, in five states in Northern Nigeria.
The Women for Health programme aims to train more than 6,000 female health workers by placing convening key decision-makers, opinion leaders and communities to address the barriers rural women face in accessing health training and deployment as rural health workers.
Women for Health also supports the transformation of 20 health training institutions to facilitate the enabling environment for female students, ensure the provision of adequate infrastructure, achievement and maintenance of accreditation status and timely release of funds. The programme works to improve the quality of teaching and student performance.
The programme has increased the number of students in training by supporting accreditation of health training institutions which helps to expand the number of student places available. The establishment of a Foundation Year Programme supports disadvantaged young rural women to achieve the science training and academic requirements needed to gain entry to mainstream professional midwifery and nursing courses.
The personal, social and economic empowerment of the young women trained by the W4H Foundation Year Programme have greatly increased. Those that go onto qualify as health workers will be deployed to rural health facilities where they will have the greatest impact on maternal health.
The Women for Health Programme is showing signs of great success: Over 2,400 female students are enrolled or have been enrolled in professional training, over 1,200 have attended a Foundation Year programme, seven of the twenty institutions now have a female principal, and ninety-five percent of the students feel hopeful about their future.