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World Health Worker Week: New life-saving skills laboratory opens in Kwara state, Nigeria

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH), has opened a new skills laboratory to train healthcare providers in Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmOC&NC) in Kwara state, Nigeria. 

The laboratory, which was officially opened in February by WBFA Founder-President, Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki – accompanied by Joy Marini, Global Director of Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson and Dr. Hauwa Mohammed, Nigeria Country Lead at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine - enables master trainers and skilled lab coordinators to train healthcare providers in essential EmOC&NC knowledge and skills. Once trained, the lab allows these healthcare providers to continue to practice and hone their skills.

This lab joins 8 existing skills labs set up across 7 of the 16 local government areas of Kwara State. Across 21 healthcare facilities, these labs and the wider programme have so far been used to train many healthcare workers, including:

  • 50 master trainers and skills lab coordinators
  • 290 healthcare providers in EmOC&NC
  • 88 healthcare providers in quality improvement

Mrs Saraki commented at the opening of the new lab:

“I am delighted that the WBFA joined forces with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the oldest and most established school of tropical medicine in the world, and Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest global health companies, to implement the EmONC training programme in Kwara State. This is a unique partnership model, bringing together an esteemed higher-education institution, the private sector and a civil society organisation.”

“80% of all maternal deaths result from five complications which can be readily treated by qualified and trained health professionals: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia, complications of abortion and obstructed labour. Our EmONC training takes place in-house and equips doctors, nurses and midwives, as a collective team, with the skills needed to overcome these obstetric emergencies”

“At the opening of the new lab, the enthusiasm of the healthcare workers was palpable. They are desperate to transform the health prospects for women and their infants and with the right training they are able to do so.”

“So much successful training has already been undertaken and the number of up-skilled frontline health workers continues to percolate, as the impact in lives-saved escalates. Our master trainers have trained a further 62,800 health workers at every cadre in the continuum of care. Imagine a Nigeria where this training was available across the nation.”

Joy Marini, Global Director of Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson, commented that she was “unbelievable honored to be a longtime partner of these amazing organizations. When you see the work happening in the clinics – the skilled midwives, the quality of the training – you can imagine a Nigeria with 100% safe births!”

Group Photo of partners and the Emir at the palace

H.E. Mrs Saraki presenting certificates and skills materials to the graduating Mums from the Skills Acquisition Training 

H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki presenting a gift bag to the Exectuive Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency Governor Abdul-Fatah Ahmed

Responding to the opening of the laboratory, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara State, applauded the EmONC training and declared that he was willing to partner with the WBFA and “lend the necessary support to make the programmes of the foundation a success, to boost the already existing health care service delivery in the State.” Dr Ahmed went on to note the importance of such partnerships and, in response to Mrs Saraki’s call for improved civil registration and vital statistics systems in Nigeria, agreed that “the absence of updated demographic data is hindering development planning in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, also warmly welcomed the news in a special session of Honourable Members, noting that the EmONC partnership had already been a life-saving success and that the efforts had made the State a pacesetter of health indices in the country.” The Emir of Ilorin separately expressed his support for the training, noting that the partnership was instrumental to improved health outcomes for mothers and children in the state.

From May 2018, the partnership will extend and scale-up the achievements so far. In the lead up to 2020, EmOC&NC training will be delivered to an additional 27 health care facilities in the remaining 9 local government areas of Kwara state. Over 600 health care providers will gain directly from the interventions and, over the 30 month project, an estimated 62,900 women and their newborns will benefit from the interventions implemented.

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