Program Director, West Africa and Middle East
Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria needs more high-quality health workers to meet the health needs of its 173 million people.
The country has 20 nurses, midwives, and doctors for every 10,000 people, less than the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization to provide adequate access to care. Although Nigeria’s ratio of health workers is better than many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, its health workers are unequitably distributed. Most health professionals choose to work in Lagos and other urban areas in the south leaving acute shortages in the north and in rural areas. As a result, there are wide disparities in health status and access to health services across the country. Nigeria's health indicators are very poor and are only slowly improving. The country has some of the world’s highest infant and maternal mortality rates—women have a 1 in 29 lifetime risk of dying in childbirth and only 38% of births are attended by skilled health workers. Nigeria has a 3.2% adult HIV prevalence rate and HIV/AIDS is the second leading cause of death. Women have an average of 6 children and the contraception prevalence rate is 14%.
Through the USAID-funded CapacityPlus project, IntraHealth worked with the Federal Ministry of Health, state ministries of health, and other partners to increase the number and improve the distribution of high-quality health workers to respond to HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, and other health needs through targeted human resources interventions at the national and state level.