FGM

Nigeria

AMURT STARTS WORK IN NIGERIA

 AMURT started in Nigeria late in 2010.  Nigeria has the largest population of all African countries. The indicators for maternal and child mortality are among the highest in the world.  The need being so great, it was imperative that AMURT start operations in Nigeria.

 EBONYI STATE – THE BATTLE AGAINST MATERNAL MORTALITY

 Ebonyi state was created from the neglected areas of Enugu and Abia state in 1996 and is the poorest state in the south of Nigeria. According to the state web-site, for every 100 live births, one Ebonyi woman dies of peri-natal causes, thus giving Ebonyi one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The state health department is overwhelmed and unable to provide operational health facilities to the population in rural areas.

Immunization at Obegu Omege.

LOCAL WOMEN TAKEN INITIATIVE TO OPEN HEALTH CENTERS

 AMURT was invited to join a primary healthcare initiative in Ekumenyi Development Center, Abakaliki Local Government, where the communities were close to completing construction of three new health centers. ActionAid Nigeria provided the construction materials, and mobilized the communities, who in turn paid the artisans.

AMURT committed to provide furniture, medical equipment, supplies and drugs and the construction of bathrooms and latrines. Initiated many years ago, the local women’s association members levied themselves 10 naira each to start the work on the foundation of what would become the health centers. From the beginning, the vision was one of community management and ownership, thus fitting well into AMURT’s strategy in community development and primary healthcare.

The Epheniyum Women's Association

In July 2010, along with our partners, we started intensive advocacy to pressurize the government to assume responsibility. We had a difficult start, but as soon as we got the local head of the health department on board, things started moving fast. Finally the local government agreed to post health workers to the facilities and the state health department also soon gave support to the project.

Family Planning Training 8-10 March 2011

THREE COMMUNITY OWNED HEALTH CENTERS OPEN THEIR DOORS

24th of November saw a grand ‘public presentation’ of three new health centers. Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Josephine Elechi, presided and a large contingent of government officials were present. Omege Health Center had already opened on 21st September. Ephenium and Offia Oji Health Centers opened on the day of the presentation. The program was well covered in the local and national media.

Immunization at Offia Oji Health Center

The population has been patronizing the health centers, as evidenced by women coming for delivery at the clinics, the big attendance at ante-natal day, and the number of adults taking advantage of the outpatient and inpatient services, including surgery days with visiting doctors from the Federal Medical Center. AMURT’s first responsibility is to give support to ensure a high standard in the new health centers. We are modeling our approach after WHO’s ‘Continuum of Care’ packages: starting from family planning before pregnancy, pregnancy care, delivery care, post-natal care, infant care and childhood care. The activities include supplementary training for the health workers, health education in the thirty-four villages in the project area and outreach programs.

Testing blood pressure on opening day at Omege Health Center

THREE YEAR PROGRAM FOR PRIMARY HEALTH

We have committed to a three year program for Ebonyi State. Our first task is to define and establish a model in the first three health centers. Secondly we plan to scale up and replicate the model in ten more health rural health centers in Ebonyi State before the end of 2013. AMURT will also extend assistance to rural water supply and sanitation initiatives.

Many villages in Ebonyi do not have access to safe water

PARTNERSHIP FOR PROGRESS – THE WAY FORWARD

It has been wonderful to learn firsthand the potential that working in partnership offers for community development. For the first time in West Africa we are working closely with government and NGO partners, in addition to the community base we are so used to from Ghana and Burkina Faso. To assist and help build the capacity of the local authorities makes sense in a development context. The problems are so great that no NGO can carry this task alone. Working in a tri-partial partnership instills a new kind of humility that creates the right framework and mindset for successful projects.  The work on the projects always comes first, as any ambition towards credit, control or ownership is held back by the common desire to serve and get the job done.  It’s overwhelmingly clear that through partnership we can accomplish things that we could never achieve working separately.

Towards a brighter tomorrow. Joyfully!

To donate for AMURT’s Maternal and Child Health program in Nigeria, click here.

CONTACT AMURT NIGERIA: Tel: +234-81-3306-7130  E-mail: nigeria AT amurt.net

Burkina Faso

An introduction to the work in Burkina Faso

AMURT IN DEOU

AMURT was first assigned to Deou by the Burkina Faso Department of Health in 1986. The desert communities have no roads, electricity or telephone communications, no commercial economy and scarce access to safe water, and 90 % illiteracy in the outlying areas. Since 1986 AMURT has engaged in a variety of development works in Deou, including hospital construction, wells, cooperatives, cereal banks, and reforestation. Since 2001 our focus has been exclusively in health education.

In remote communities of the Moussi and Peuhl tribes, as many as 60 % the girls have their genitals cut at the age of 12-14. This Peuhl girl is from the Ndiawe village, a nomad community.

AMURT is working in partnership with the Department of Health to train women as village midwives. (AV for Accoucheuse Villageoise in French). The program was initiated in January 2002 and now serves more than 30 communities throughout Deou Department. The village midwives are trained and supervised by AMURT and staff from the Health Department Staff at the medical centers at Deou, Gandafabou and Boulekessi.

All the AV´s come for repetition and further training courses twice a year. The October 2006 session lasted ten days

 

BACKGROUND

According to the UN, 530,000 women die in childbirth every year, more than half of these in Sub-Saharan Africa, in remote villages. In the Deou project area, two tribes, the Peuhl (Fulani) and the Bella have no strong tradition of assisted childbirth. Rather it’s said that if a woman is a strong woman, she should be able to give birth alone. When the women try to assist each other during delivery, their approach has been a passive one, as they are unprepared without training and supplies to secure the hygienic conditions. The nearest delivery room with trained personnel has been up to fifty kilometers away, in an area with no roads and no vehicles. The mothers have been unprepared to face the complications that may arise. The area has seen one of the highest maternal mortality figures in Africa.

Our trainer Madame Oubda takes time to answer questions personally after her class on breastfeeding
 

Fanta from Boulekessi Soum was trained in 2005 and has established herself well in her community

VILLAGE MIDWIVES

The AVs are earning the respect of their communities. They are assuming a position of leadership that has been unavailable to women due to the traditional separation of the sexes. The AV’s effectively fulfill the role of the health promoter for mothers and babies. Their training has also brought them to the frontline to raise awareness in this conservative society about concerns crucial to the welfare of women. For example, they are advising women in their communities about family planning and the threat of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is brought to the area by men who travel to find work in the dry season.

The Peuhl AV at Ndiawe village gets help from visiting UK midwife Suniiti Crowther to understand how to better use the instruments in her midwife kit

The AV’s are now using their position to combat FGM, female genital mutilation. FGM is officially banned in Burkina Faso. However in the remote villages, as many as 60 % nearly all of the Moussi and Peuhl girls still have their genitals cut around the age of 12 to 14. The AV´s are also taught about the common difficulties encountered in breastfeeding and how to assist the mothers to overcome them. Right breastfeeding is crucial to combat child malnutrition.

The AV from Bungelday gets read to practice oral resuscitation. The use of teaching aids (visuals and dolls to demonstrate/practice on) are particularly important when teaching the illiterate, who find it difficult to follow theoretical classes

COMPONENTS OF THE PROGRAM

  • Basic training for village midwives, equipment and supplies.
  • Additional training for village midwives
  • Literacy training for village midwives
  • Food assistance for village midwives:­ one 100 kg sack of millet annually at the time of grain shortages.
  • Follow-up and supervision for village midwives ­ monthly. Monitoring of instruments and refill of supplies. Collection of data.
  • S.M.I. Mobile ­ Sante Maternel Infantil: weighing and check-ups of infants and pregnant and nursing mothers, health education for women in the villages, including audio/video.
  • Mobile out-reach to the communities by health department team.
  • Ambulance: ­ AMURT donated a vehicle for ambulance for Deou Medical Center, and assists with the vehicle maintenance and driver support.
  • Training and supervision of village health promoters (male) Agents de Sante Villageoise (A.S.V.)
Before the program started, virtually no women of the Bella tribe would come for pre-natal consultation or deliveries at the medical centers. With the efforts of the AV´s (village midwives) these attitudes have started to change, and the Bella tribe no longer remain aloof from the health infrastructure of the country.

FUNDING PARTNERS

NORAD/FOKUS-KVINNER ­ Norway
AMURTEL USA
AMURT UK
AMURT Italy
AMURT Norway
AM Foundation, Taiwan
Emanuele Antola Foundation

You can help !

AMURT relies on donations from individuals and sponsoring agencies and associations. We have two full time local coordinators, one stationed in Deou, and one alternating between Deou and the capital Ouagadougou. We are currently seeking groups or individuals to sponsor the training and equipping of more village midwives and village health agents for the villages around Deou.

To contribute you can:
1. Donate Online
2. Donations can also be sent via bank transfer to:
Account name: AMURT
Account number 012421107180850173
Banque Internationale de Burkina Faso
Boite Postale 362
Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso

Participatory Video of the Fulani people

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