|U.S. Embassy in Nigeria with AVSI for Rural Health and Training|
An 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.
Mrs. 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:
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.