In response to high levels of maternal deaths and child mortality, Plan International Nigeria has improved the nutrition and health related behaviours of community members in 5 states.
In 2015, Nigeria was reportedly accounting for 14% of maternal deaths around the world and similar levels for child mortality.
The World Heath Organisation estimated that over 200,000 children died from acute diarrhoea in Nigeria in 2014.
As a result, Plan International, alongside Nutrition International, stepped in to provide support in the worst-affected states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara.
A project was launched to increase the iron and folic acid intake of pregnant women to reduce maternal deaths. At the same time, another project was launched to increase the zinc intake of children at risk of diarrhoea.
Another element of these projects was the advocate to local governments to prioritise and fund these lifesaving interventions.
In addition, work was carried out in communities to raise awareness of the causes behind maternal deaths and child mortality. In order to get the message across, posters were created, pamphlets were distributed as well as radio advertising and house to house visits by community health volunteers.
Improved practices save lives
At the end of the projects in March 2019, the District Health Information Survey revealed that over 944,000 children under 5 and more than 827,000 pregnant women directly benefitted.
In addition, there was considerable evidence to suggest improved behaviours among community members to reduce maternal and child mortality. As a result, the Ministry of Health in Jigawa State has continued the radio advertising campaign following the project from Plan International and Nutrition International.