Making Primary Healthcare Work in Rural Nigeria

AMURT Nigeria
Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Contact: Acarya Daneshananda Avadhuta
Social Justice and Equality and Health and Well-Being

Every Life Counts

AMURT Nigeria started up in 2010 in Ebonyi State and has grown steadily. Our focus is on maternal, newborn and child health, and to extend healthcare services into the remote rural areas that previously had no access to healthcare services. We have developed a model which places community participation at heart of the strategy.

AMURT Nigeria’s motto is “Every Life Counts’. To go the extra mile to save lives, 24 hours a day, everywhere we work, has come to define us to ourselves and this spirit also defines us to the communities, the government and the public here.

So it’s about pregnant women and babies! This October we are going to have close to 450 births, which is a new record for one month. We have ten health centers at this time and we are getting ready to open one more in in the first week of December. We are getting close to 19,000 births since we started, and that counts twins and triplets as only one birth. We are in the area of the world with the highs numbers of multiple births.

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Our goal is to fill the gap left by a failing government health structure. We are also working with an emergency obstetric service. Four of the ten health centers have resident doctors and operating theaters and can perform emergency cesarean sections. Our hospitals have become referral centers for obstetric emergencies.

We also work with water and sanitation. We have provided safe water to 196 villages as of now. Other activities include economic empowerment for widows and women who are sole breadwinners for their families. That include women with husbands who are disabled. We also provide special support for teenage mothers and teenage girls who are pregnant. We have six ambulances deployed in the rural health centers, they are used exclusively for patient transport. We provide financial assistance in case of life threatening situations for mothers and children, including sponsoring of life saving surgeries for children.

We raise awareness about the plight of the rural poor in Africa in their struggle for primary healthcare access. To publicize what AMURT is doing to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and to increase community participation in primary healthcare in Nigeria.

The AMURT Nigeria project started in 2010. We chose to work in Ebonyi State as it is the poorest state in southern Nigeria with the highest maternal and newborn mortality . The goal is to save lives. Our slogan ‘Every Life Counts’. We also work to build the capacity of the community and increase the level of self- reliance in rural primary healthcare through community owned and community managed projects.

Among the significant achievements are: 18,600 births. 550 + cesarean sections, 10 clinics that are open hours without fail, maternal health promoters in 210 villages, six ambulances, 400 widows and indigent women empowered to start their own business, 196 village boreholes drilled and installed with trained Water Sanitation and Hygiene Committee. Scholarship to 30 young women to go to school to become qualified health workers.

We can share our experience through the model we have developed for rural primary healthcare, including how to mobilize community participation, community management, create working partnerships with government. We can share what it takes to provide ante-natal care, delivery care and post-natal care for mothers and their babies, emergency obstetric care, rural ambulance service and emergency assistance, care for teenage mothers, water and sanitation, cooperatively managed revolving credit schemes for economic empowerment.