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U.S. Embassy in Nigeria with AVSI for Rural Health and Training

altAn important link between the U.S. Embassy and AVSI in Nigeria will benefit hundreds of women and children in rural areas thanks to a program partly funded by the U.S. Ambassador’s PEPFAR small grant program.

On June 18, the Ambassador’s representative Mrs. Yinka Balogun joined representatives of AVSI’s healthcare professionals including St. Kizito Clinic Medical Director Dr. Alda Gemmani, nurse-midwife and community health officer Margaret Salia, and around 60 other leaders from the Community Development Associations (CDA) and other local stakeholders including schools, as well as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to open the new project, which will be integrated into AVSI’s established health activities in the areas of Ikorodu, Ira, and Eti-Osa in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Linking with schools such as St. John Primary School or Reri Junior Secondary School and with community health providers, the program will target 1,000 vulnerable individuals, including women of reproductive ages, OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children), and elderly inhabitants of villages to address common health issues such as malaria, HIV, and to improve maternal and infant health.

altMrs. Balogun extended the greeting of U.S. Ambassador Terence McCulley, making mention of other similar health projects funded by the PEPFAR initiative in Nigeria, also encouraging the participants to make good use of the training, first of all at home with their own children.

Mrs. Salia took on the task of describing AVSI’s work, beginning her presentation with the starting point of all of AVSI’s interventions: the focus on the human persons involved. This shapes the holistic package of activities, which include trainings, community education and awareness, and psychosocial support as well as provision of basic health services:

  • Weekly clinic outreach activities at Ikorodu and at Ira-Nla.
  • Health education on the prevailing diseases in neighboring communities and at St John School, Ikorodu.
  • Mobilizing communities for health interventions, including immunization drives, prevention of Malaria, and de-worming exercises using a family-based approach.
  • Conducting regular supervisory visits to TBAs for proper delivery & to link for referrals in cases of emergencies.
  • Treatment of minor ailments; Referrals to secondary level hospital for complex cases.
  • Conducting minor laboratory tests, such as malaria parasite using rapid diagnostic test kit, hemoglobin level, blood sugar level, urinalysis, etc.
  • Providing HIV counseling and testing services for women and men, blood and urine testing, pregnancy testing.
  • Providing Psychosocial and Educational Assistance and Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (ACCORD).
  • Developing the capacity of 90 caregivers of OVCs on issues such as: HIV/AIDS prevention and care, safe infant feeding & weaning practices, alt and home management of common childhood illnesses.

Mrs Arogundele, one of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude on behalf of the community members, and requesting that the services provided by AVSI increase from weekly to daily frequency for greater impact. Mr Olumide Adeyanju, the representative of the CDA, also voiced his appreciation to all the program organizers and enjoined the community members to utilize the services provided by AVSI.

The opening ceremony ended with a tour around St. John School and the out-station clinic, and Mrs Yinka commented again on the impressive integrated support of education and health in such a rural community. To close the festivities, the children of St. John School entertained participants and guests with a cultural dance.

Read more:

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