Dr. Zipporah Kpamor

{Photo credit: Andrew Esiebo/MSH Nigeria}Photo credit: Andrew Esiebo/MSH Nigeria

I am a woman. I am a Nigerian. I am a mother. I am a leader. And, I am a daughter. As the Nigerian country representative, I guide Management Sciences for Health (MSH)’s efforts to ensure the people of my country have access to quality health services. Indeed, I am many things. Before all else:

I am a woman of Nigeria.

The Girl Child in Nigeria

From the beginning, our girl children are at a disadvantage.

Our culture (like many are) is strongly patriarchal. The boy child is given higher status than the girl child. If a family has to choose, the boy child is the first to go to school. The girl child is the first to be dropped from school.

No matter how young she is, the girl child feels that it is her responsibility to care for her siblings. She is expected to take on added responsibilities and earn money to keep the other children. This pressure frequently leads to early sexual activity, transactional sex, and sex with older men-- increasing her risk of getting HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.

Then Boko Haram came to the North East Zone of Nigeria. They take our girls away. They abuse them. They rape them. They marry them off to older men.

 {Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, MSH’s Nigeria Country Representative, speaking during the African Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH

"Good leadership skills, flexible policies, and constant advocacy will improve health in Africa," said Dr. Zipporah Kpamor during her talk at the Africa Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 7, 2014. As Management Sciences for Health (MSH’s) Nigeria Country Representative and project director for the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded US Agency for International Development (USAID) project, Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS), Zipporah is an expert on the conference’s theme: Leapfrogging development challenges to transform Africa’s health. 

Zipporah offered poignant insight on one of the meeting’s discussion topics: Leadership, policy, and advocacy for health in Africa:

 {Photo credit: MSH}(From left) Hiwot Emishaw (Health for All Campaign); Dr. Femi Thomas (National Health Insurance Scheme); Prof. Khama Rogo (Health in African Initiative, International Finance Corporation in Nigeria); Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi; Amb. Bala Sanni (Federal Ministry of Health); Nuhu M. Zabagyi (NHIS Board Chairman); Marie Francoise Marie Nelly (World Bank Country Representative); Pieter Walhof (PharmAccess Foundation); Abuja, March 9, 2014.Photo credit: MSH

In Nigeria, the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is effectively collaborating with stakeholders to support the government move toward universal health coverage (UHC).  Led by MSH and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Health for All Campaign co-hosted a National Stakeholders Meeting on UHC in conjunction with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and PharmAccess Foundation on March 9, 2014. The prior day, March 8, the campaign hosted a media forum on “Effective coverage of progress towards universal health coverage in Nigeria.”

 {Photo credit: Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH).}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, chief of party of MSH Nigeria (right), and Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist (left), participate in the family planning discussion in Washington, DC.Photo credit: Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH).

On December 3, Management Sciences for Health participated in an event organized by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) on the importance of family planning for reducing maternal deaths and improving child survival. The informative Capitol Hill panel discussion (Where Do Christians Stand on Family Planning? Voices from the Global South) dispelled several misconceptions about Christian views on family planning and examined the under-reported role that many Christian organizations play in this sector. Panelists addressed two key myths.

Myth: Family planning equals abortion

Reverend Richard Cizik, the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, said this myth is the most persistent and inaccurate. In fact, family planning encompasses a range of health interventions ranging from healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, counseling and education, breastfeeding, and contraceptive use.

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