Nigeria: Our Impact

 MSH was recently awarded a $60 million five-year follow-on project to the USAID-funded LMS-AIDS Care and Treatment (LMS-ACT) project. Under LMS-ACT (2007-2009), MSH has been assisting the government of Nigeria to take leadership of Nigeria’s HIV & AIDS response at both the federal and state levels, working with the Nigerian government to build the capacity of government health systems, improve health workers’ skills, and take full ownership of providing staff and resources for improved delivery, quality, and sustainability of HIV/AIDS/TB care.

When Mustafa (his name has been changed to protect his privacy) came to the hospital to support his HIV-positive sister, Community Care Specialist Callista Ike had no idea that two months later he would be helping to triple HIV counseling and testing rates at his regional hospital in Taraba State, Nigeria. Counseling and testing are vital to stemming the HIV & AIDS epidemic.

In just a few months, Christianah Temidayo Akerejola—known familiarly as Auntie D—saw the average number of people receiving HIV counseling and testing in her hospitals increase from an average of 10 per day to nearly 100 per day after participating in a Health Professionals’ Fellowship Program sponsored by USAID/Nigeria and designed and managed by MSH’s Nigeria Capacity Building Project under the Leadership, Management, and Sustainability (LMS) Program. Counseling and testing are vital to stemming the HIV & AIDS epidemic.

As Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria is also encumbered by a proportionately large malaria problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 150 million cases of malaria occurred in Nigeria in 2006, most severely affecting young children and pregnant women. The Federal and State Ministries of Health are building malaria control capabilities in understaffed, poorly supplied facilities but still fall far short of meeting people’s needs.

MSH: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you decided to become a doctor. I went to school here in Nigeria, at the University of Jos. After the basic medical degree, I did a residency in the Faculty of Community Health. I worked briefly teaching medical students Dr. Zipporah Kpamorand then began development work with the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), starting with expanding access to reproductive health services in the north.

Guided by the motto “building the ship as we’re sailing it,” MSH is rapidly scaling up the availability of comprehensive HIV & AIDS services in Nigeria while strengthening the country’s health care system. Supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the AIDS Care and Treatment (ACT) Project is using a decentralized model to reach the country’s diverse and primarily rural population. ACT is combining intensive outreach with the building of sustainable structures and systems at the state and local levels.