News & Blogs2019-09-24T06:57:57-04:00
501, 2022

WI-HER’s Work in Women’s Empowerment: Nigeria Social Norms Learning Collaborative Conference

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By Kenneth Goughnour, Program Coordinator “Being a member of COP has empowered me with knowledge to stay healthy during pregnancy.”“I can now save towards my delivery.”- Members of Kebbi Communities of Practice (COP) In mid-November 2021, WI-HER presented at the annual Nigeria Learning Collaborative Conference on Social Norms, highlighting our work in women’s empowerment through USAID’s Integrated Health Program (IHP). Through IHP, WI-HER is identifying gender barriers and facilitating sustainable solutions toward improved health for mothers and babies. WI-HER works in four areas of health looking at gender and social inclusion in Nigeria: women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health, as well as gender-based violence (GBV). Women’s empowerment underscores all of these areas. Often, gender transformative programming, which addresses these barriers, focuses on the “demand” side rather than the “supply” side of primary health services. We are addressing women’s empowerment from the supply side, starting with 10 primary healthcare facilities across 5 States in Nigeria. […]

1810, 2021

Adapting Tools and Considering Inclusion to Eliminate NTDs: Hirut’s Story

By Sara Pappa, WI-HER Technical Advisor; Habtamu Bedasa, FHF Zonal NTDs Technical Advisor; Leta Balcha Damessa, FHF Program Manager Habtamu Bedasa, a Zonal NTDs Technical Advisor with FHF, uses the Supervisors Coverage Tool (SCT) to assess the level of MDA coverage in a village in Ethiopia. Attention to diversity and inclusion is critical to ensuring services and efforts to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are accessible, equitable, and reach those most in need. NTDs disproportionately impact those living in poverty and those that are more likely to be marginalized or excluded—often based on conditions of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, geographic location, or for Hirut, disability. Hirut lives in a rural village in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. She is a married mother of eight children, and she is illiterate and lives with a hearing disability. Despite annual mass drug administration (MDA) for trachoma in her village—a critical preventive health measure—Hirut’s hearing disability has prevented her from learning about MDA and its benefits, especially during the regular pre-MDA mobilization efforts in town. Because of this, Hirut has never participated in the annual village-wide service in the Abaya district. This particular district is highly endemic for the disease, which makes adherence to MDA even more critical for the health of Hirut as well as her family. […]

1110, 2021

International Day of the Girl Child: Babirye’s Story and a Timely Intervention

By Dr. Taroub Faramand, WI-HER President and Founder Timely interventions, such as offering coding classes to young girls as Dr. Faramand has done, can be beneficial to a girl’s education and future. Educate the girl child and you have educated the community. Babirye is a 15-year-old, one of four girls in her father’s one-bedroom house. Her home is a next to the Silver Bolt HQ in Uganda. She has always shown interest in the work that we do with coding classes, but she has never had the resources to join. Following the Government of Uganda’s directive to shut down schools during the Covid pandemic, she was stuck at home, too young to look for work but no money to facilitate private tutoring. She has resorted to joining the duukas (small shops) and spending her day around the women and men who work there. She recently picked up interest in frying cassava but does it to occupy her time and for free. […]

510, 2021

Advocating for more responsive and accessible health services for persons with disabilities in Nigeria

By Kenneth Goughnour, MPH, MCH, WI-HER Program Coordinator During a USAID IHP capacity building workshop led by Gender Advisors, persons with disabilities civil society organizations learned how to recognize barriers to health access and identify considerations for increasing access to health care services for PWDs. In July 2021, the Gender Advisors from the USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP) in Sokoto and Kebbi States conducted two-day workshops to advance more responsive and accessible reproductive health/family planning; maternal, newborn and child health; nutrition and malaria (RMNCH+NM) services for persons with disabilities (PWD). Stakeholders from the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Development, the Ministry of Health (MoH), and representatives from PWD civil society organizations had their capacity built to recognize barriers to health access and identify considerations for increasing access to health care services for persons with disabilities. As a result of these workshops in Kebbi State, an implementation plan and strategy was developed with time-bound responsibilities and benchmarks for assigning the primary State-level PWD focal person and the PWD response team members at State and Local Government Area (LGA) levels to advocate for increased accessibility and quality of services for PWDs. In addition, the participants reviewed the Disability Act to add Kebbi-specific considerations to prepare it for submission to the State House of Assembly with the aim of domestication within the State. In Sokoto State, the MoH formally adopted a gender-responsive Terms of Reference for a PWD focal person, and, through working groups, identified one PWD focal person for each of Sokoto's 23 LGAs. The Gender Advisors will continue to support the stakeholders from their respective meetings to advance more responsive and accessible RMNCH+NM services for PWDs.

1309, 2021

Health Worker Safety is Patient Safety: It’s Time to Rebuild Our Health Systems to Support our Health Workers

By Amanda Ottosson, M.S.C., WI-HER Program Officer Source: World Health Organization “People-centeredness” is a fundamental principle of quality health services. When someone seeks care or treatment within a health system, they hope to be understood, heard, and treated with kindness, respect, and the best possible personalized care possible. This is, of course, critical to quality care, but we must also look at the other side of the coin: how is the health workforce treated? We must ask ourselves: how are the health workers – who consistently and continuously provide person-centered care – being provided for and treated as well? When we demand quality, do we view health workers as humans or machines? Do we view them with a person-centered perspective as well? Do we truly understand that they too may have bad days, that they are tired and overworked, and that they are… human? When we expect to receive care and treatment from any health worker, especially psychological support services, we subject health workers to potential re-traumatization themselves. For example, WI-HER was contracted to adapt in-person gender-based violence training to online training during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of this adaption, WI-HER stressed the importance of considering re-traumatization of the health workers and offered support to the health workers should re-traumatization occur. Re-traumatization can occur for anyone involved in a patient’s care, including health workers. […]

709, 2021

Knowledge is Power: Protect Education from Attack

By Maddison Hall, MPH, WI-HER Program Officer Grade 7 students complete classwork; Photo by DFAT photo library  “Thuto ke maatla.” In Setswana, spoken in the southern African country of Botswana, this phrase translates to “Knowledge is power.” This phrase was emblazoned under the school crest of the secondary school where I taught in Tsabong, Botswana, a small town nestled in the heart of the Kgalagadi Desert. Every day as I walked into classrooms across our campus, I saw this simple phrase translated into reality, as young women and men gained knowledge and skills to help them thrive in their communities. My fellow teachers and I endeavored each day to equip our students not only with learning they could gain from books, but with skills to improve their health and relationships, enhance their confidence, and exercise their rights. Last year, the United Nations declared September 9th the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, recognizing the injustices experienced by children across the world who are prevented from receiving an education. Children across the world face increasing barriers to education, including conflict and violence that forces schools to close, climate change and natural disasters that interrupt education, inequitable gender norms and harmful practices that prevent girls from accessing education, and inequitable access to resources and technology that are needed to thrive in schools, to name a few. […]

1108, 2021

Youth Engagement and Social Inclusiveness using Gender and Youth Ambassadors in the USAID Integrated Health Program in Nigeria

By Stella Mwita, GESI Advisor for WI-HER based in Tanzania, East Africa; and Stella Abah, Lydia Musa, and Helen John, Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisors. WI-HER, LLC, working within the USAID-funded and Palladium-led Integrated Health Project (IHP), is building the capacity of and strengthening health systems across five States in Nigeria. As a part of this work, IHP with assistance from WI-HER, is focused on building advocacy skills and awareness to encourage youth utilization of health services, particularly services related to reproductive health, to encourage healthy sexual behaviors and gender equality. WI-HER also builds leadership competencies of local stakeholders across the five States such as with the State Gender and Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) to enhance their advocacy skills and gender-responsive outreach to adolescents and youths in their communities. The GYAs promote youth voices by inviting them to speak with State-level government representatives and Facility Management Committees to share their unique concerns around sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and general primary health care. WI-HER also convenes peer groups to support youths in conversations about their roles in society, their responsibilities in advancing equality, positive SRH behaviors, and the importance of zero tolerance for gender-based violence (GBV). GYDOs discuss the health needs of adolescents and youth; Photo by Stella Abah WI -HER is proud to be a part of IHP and advancing USAID’s commitment to the future of Nigeria, empowering the growing youth population to be healthy and invested in gender equality and democratic principles. As the United Nations Population Fund states, adolescence is a unique period of life that “brings not only changes to their bodies but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses, particularly in the arenas of sexuality, marriage, and childbearing.” We respond to those vulnerabilities by equipping youth with knowledge, understanding, and support, as we share in the following examples. […]

1008, 2021

The Importance of Supporting Health Workers and Health Centers

By Luseka Mwanzi, WI-HER Gender Coordinator While National Health Center week is a celebratory week in the United States, this year’s theme “The Chemistry for Strong Communities” inspired me to reflect on the global community and the incredible health centers I have had the opportunity to support to improve gender-based violence (GBV) care in Kenya. WI-HER Gender Coordinator Luseka Mwanzi provides support to local health workers and providers, as well as health centers, to improve the quality of care and service that they give to GBV survivors. Almost everything in the world revolves around health, and GBV is no exception. However, we often forget about the health workers themselves and that providing quality GBV care can be emotionally and physically draining. Health workers not only need recognition, they also need support. It is critical to always remember that anyone may have been subjected to violence, and despite potentially experiencing re-traumatization, health workers strive to provide the highest possible care they can. While I had the opportunity to work with eight health centers in three different counties in Kenya, a facility that I would like to highlight is Nakuru Provincial General Hospital (Nakuru PGH). […]

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