Improving Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health
The Nigeria maternal mortality rate is among the highest in the world. Many women still die as a result of pregnancy and child birth related complications. For every woman who dies in childbirth, more others suffer debilitating complications and chronic ill health. Infant and child mortality rates are unacceptably high with about 1 out of 5 dying before the age of five. Reproductive health indices are also dismal with a very low uptake of contraceptive services due to lack of sexual health information. This also makes young people vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy.
The Reproductive and Maternal Health (MCH) programme of LAPO promote women’s health, child survival and reduction in household healthcare spending through emphasis on disease prevention rather than curative efforts. Pregnant and nursing mothers are sensitised during antenatal, child immunization clinic days at local health facilities and existing community meetings. The comprehensive programme includes training, community sensitization, health facility upgrading, community rapid testing, health referrals, linkage building, HIV/AIDS prevention and impact mitigation.
KEY PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES
1. Reproductive Health Services among Clients of LAPO
LAPO has sustained the provision of Reproductive Health (RH) education and referral services, in collaboration with the Partners for Development, Nigeria (PfD) over the years. The programme promotes reproductive health knowledge and health-seeking behaviour among clients of LAPO microfinance in Edo and Delta States. Besides, it enhances uptake of safe motherhood services at Primary Health Centres (PHCs) through improved referral linkages. Beneficiaries are usually referred to health facilities for RH services such as antenatal care, family planning and HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT.)
2. HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
HIV/AIDS is a major issue of concern for children, young people and women in Nigeria. We implement HIV/AIDS prevention and control projects which address vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, misconceptions about the ailment as well as prevent new cases amongst brothel-based Female Sex Workers (FSWs), women of reproductive age and the general population. The key projects we have implemented over the years in collaboration with key donor agencies in target communities across the country include.
· Preventing HIV Amongst Female Sex Workers (FSWs) in Edo State
The Global Fund (GF) supported-HIV Prevention Project amongst Female Sex Workers (FSWs) in Edo State is still being implemented in collaboration with the Society for Family Health (SFH). The Minimum Prevention Package of Intervention (MPPI), consisting of Structural, Behavioural and Bio-medical services is the strategy adopted in the implementation. Issues discussed include in safe sex practices, assertiveness, self-worth, safer sex negotiation, condom usage, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), drug abuse and so on. HIV Testing Services (HTS) and referrals for STI, TBs and other skin infections are provided for all the FSWs.
· Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) in Edo Central, Edo State
LAPO partners the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) in the implementation of the USAID-funded Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project in Edo Central Senatorial District. The family-centered, multi-sector intervention project encourages communities to take action to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS; track the welfare of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) including vulnerable children, and enable them have greater access to care and support services to mitigate the health, economic and social burdens of HIV/AIDS in households and communities.
Implementation strategy includes advocacy, establishment of community structures and capacity building, referrals, home visits, facility linkages for care and support services.
· Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and New HIV Infections among
Female Sex Workers (FSWs) in Edo State
The Edo-SACA/HAF/PMTCT project, implemented in Esan West and Esan Central Local Government Areas of Edo state, increases the knowledge and attitude of women of reproductive age, pregnant women and FSWs about HIV prevention measures. The beneficiaries also have access to ANC, HCT, RH and PMTCT services under the project, implemented in collaboration with the Edo State Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS (SACA) through the World Bank/ HIV and AIDS Fund (HAF) under the HIV/AIDS Programme Development Project (HPDP II) Programme.
Under the project, training are organised for local volunteers to enable them provide Interpersonal Communication (IPC) outreaches and referrals to health facilities for HCT services in their assigned communities. Women of reproductive age, especially pregnant ones, are enlightened about HIV and the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) with referrals to health facilities for free uptake of HCT services. Those who test positive to HIV are referred for PMTCT services.
· HIV Prevention Project Amongst Female Sex Workers
This World Bank/Edo-SACA funded project was carried out in Oluku, Ovbioge and Ekiadolor communities in Ovia North East Local Government of Edo State. Under the project, seven Peer Educators were selected, trained in four brothels and charged with the responsibility of organizing a minimum of six peer sessions with their cohorts. Strategies include advocacy visit to stakeholders, peer education, condom demonstration, forecasting and support provision, HIV testing, referrals for STI treatment and so on. FSWs are given free HIV test, condoms, lubricants and personal hygiene items as well as get linked up with support facilities for STI treatment and skills acquisition.
· HIV Prevention Project Among Patrons of Hot-Spots in Lagos State
The HAF/HPDP II Project was implemented in Lagos State to prevent HIV spread among clients of ‘hot-spots,’ including brothels and beer parlours using the Minimum Prevention Package Intervention (MPPI) strategy to engage target beneficiaries. Under the project, LAPO provided patrons of hot-spotsin Alimosho and Ojo Local Government Areas, HIV/AIDS enlightenment, free HIV tests and referrals for uptake of support and treatment, including condoms.
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