Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa. In its vast rural areas, health facilities are scarce and are frequently understaffed or undersupplied. Where services do exist, cultural and social pressures can limit women's ability to use them. Nigerians make up 2% of the world's population, yet they account for 10% of all maternal deaths.
EngenderHealth's work in Nigeria began in 1985 and initially concentrated on expanding family planning options. Since 2007, our efforts have focused on preventing and treating obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury which the United Nations estimates may affect up to 800,000 women in Nigeria, with approximately 20,000 new cases occurring each year.
EngenderHealth, through the Fistula Care project, supported by USAID, concentrates its work in the northern part of the country, which has the highest maternal mortality and morbidity rates and the lowest rates of contraceptive use, prenatal care, and assisted deliveries. Fistula Care in Nigeria partners with six hospitals in six states-Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, and Ebonyi-to prevent and repair fistula and improve maternal health services overall.
Highlights of the project include:
- Training surgeons in fistula repair and nurses in pre- and post-operative care
- Training health care professionals to perform cesarean sections to prevent fistula and to refer women to other, better-equipped facilities if needed
- Expanding the availability and use of family planning
- Working with religious leaders to advocate for fistula prevention and treatment in their communities