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Community Ambassadors and Health Services for Maternal and Child Care

Health & Psychology Nigeria

Image by DCStudio on Freepik

Policy Context

Despite global reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality, in 2020, Nigeria accounted for the second-highest number of maternal and child deaths globally, with about 12% of the global maternal, stillbirths, and neonatal death burden. Currently, Nigeria offers free healthcare for pregnant women and children under 5 years through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).  While Nigeria is investing in interventions to address barriers to healthcare access in rural areas, maternal, and child healthcare services are still underutilized. This study explores how community ambassadors, specifically community members who are beneficiaries of the program, can encourage the utilization of public maternal and child health services in rural communities across Edo State, Nigeria.

Study Design

The pilot study will be conducted across six communities in the state, with three communities randomly assigned to one of two groups that receive the same information, but from different sources. In the first group, trained community ambassadors, either present or past beneficiaries of the BHCPF program, will disseminate information about the benefits package of the BHCPF in biweekly, in-person meetings. In the second group, influential female community leaders will disseminate such information. The target population is households with women of reproductive age, 15 to 49 years, who are either pregnant or have children under five years old. The research team will select and survey 100 eligible households across the six communities and measure maternal and child health outcomes, as well as knowledge and attitudes toward public health services. Findings will inform the design of planned government partnerships with community stakeholders to increase the utilization of public health programs.

Results and Policy Lessons

Results forthcoming.

  • Nneka Esther Osadolor
  • Laura Choida
  • Isabel MacDonald
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