Dr. Minnie I. Oseji, National President, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria — MWAN. Photo Credit: MWAN

Personal Reflections from Dr. Minnie I. Oseji, National President, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 — I looked forward to the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) Lagos Closeout Dissemination with nostalgia. I had followed the progress of the NURHI with their creatively designed milestones for some years, and I also knew the tenacity of the Chief of Party, Dr. Mojisola Odeku.

I initially thought the milestones of the project were overly ambitious. How could Family Planning become a social norm in Nigeria with all its religious, cultural and ethnic barriers? Over the years, I have watched each milestone creatively and innovatively delivered. It is worthy to note that NURHI has demonstrated that sensitization programmes to promote positive behavior change can be effectively monitored and evaluated with indicators to measure expected outcomes.

Wahoo, five years of creativity, innovation and collaboration in Lagos State came to its climax during NURHI’s Lagos closeout dissemination. They delivered every aspect of their model in a unique representation of what it means to have truly walked the family planning landscape. NURHI changed the trajectory of family planning in Nigeria.

After watching the closeout events online, here is what I thought, and I felt the need to share with you all.

Lessons learnt from the Lagos State NURHI Close-out Event:

· Impressive documentation of the number of women that received family planning services. (From 17,553 new clients and 25,999 revisits in Year 1 to 47,098 and 47638 respectively).

· Impressive documentation of numbers of orientation programmes conducted, personnel trained, and facilities renovated through the NURHI-pioneered 72-Hour Clinic Makeover model.

- Trained 250 social mobilizers who are embedded in the State and Primary Healthcare Board (PHCB) structure.

- 220 journalists and media executives trained in family planning.

- 888 public statements in support of family planning by key stakeholders (Religious, community & traditional leaders).

· Excellent documentary capturing the essence of the programme.

- 320,695 women received family planning services in supported High Volume Facilities in Lagos State.

- Radio and TV shows were judiciously used.

- Social media was judiciously used such as twitter and the number of impressions documented showing an astronomical increase.

· The neighborhood social mobilization model, using house to house visits is a successful intervention that should be used to promote other primary health care services.

- Reached over 1.3 million men and women through social mobilization, over 200,000 referrals.

· The 72-Hour Clinic Makeover intervention mobilized communities, empowered and sensitized residents, boosted the morale of health workers and encouraged ownership by getting the Local Government Area (LGA) Chairmen to commission the projects.

- Supported 50 high volume facilities and 17 low volume facilities, renovated 54 facilities.

· Publications boost the quality of care in the facilities as they constitute a literary resource the health workers can refer to and reinforce lessons from orientation and training programmes.

- Supported the State to develop its Integrated Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health & Nutrition Program (IRMNCH+N) Demand Generation strategy document which will guide the delivery of impactful and cost-effective demand generation interventions.

· NURHI documents have been distributed to Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) adopted heath facilities in several States. MWAN hopes they can document and present the results of these interventions in the adopted health facilities just as NURHI has done.

NURHI has done well in all of its implementation States in the last 10 years and these efforts have impacted other states in the country. NURHI and its brand name Get It Together have become household names that have come to stay. To this end, I say, Congratulations to the NURHI team.

Well done!!!

Dr. M.I. Oseji

National President

Medical Women Association of Nigeria

Working towards a Nigeria where the uptake of family planning/childbirth spacing methods is a social norm.