Nigerian State representatives develop their workplans with assistance from the Initiative and its implementing partner: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.

The Challenge Initiative is igniting a movement for the spread of sustained reproductive health interventions in Nigeria. Using its signature “business unusual” model, the Initiative supports Nigerian states to lead the design and implementation of their own high-impact reproductive health interventions to increase contraceptive prevalence rates. At a recent workplan development meeting in Ogun State, the Initiative supported States as they developed comprehensive strategies and plans for their reproductive health interventions.

Ogun State’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, reinforced the relevance and impact of the Initiative’s intervention in Ogun.

“Our maternal mortality rate is currently at 66 per 1000 live births and we are steadily making progress with the help of TCI,” said Ipaye. “We are happy with the Initiative’s contribution to improving contraceptive prevalent rates in Ogun and I am glad to hear we have recently also accessed a new adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health intervention as well.”

Other State representatives shared their experience working with the Initiative, including Andrew Okoh, the Secretary of the Advocacy Core Group in Niger State.

“TCI makes you take ownership,” said Okoh, referring to technical coaching.  “They give you the information to take a decision and allow you to lead. With TCI, you make the decisions by yourself, so it is easy for you to identify where you have made a mistake and learn from that mistake.”

Yakubu Zakshi, program manager of the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) project in Bauchi State reiterated Okoh’s sentiment, saying, “TCI allows the State to be at the driver’s seat so that with or without TCI, Bauchi State will know how to lead, and sustainability will not be a problem.”

Apart from the opportunity to report out on progress and learnings, the meeting provided an opportunity to share innovations and best practices. The states also demonstrated a deep understanding of the Initiative’s demand-driven model.

“For us to win the war in our health sector, we must work on our demand,” said Dr. Elijah Ogunsola, Executive Secretary of Ogun State’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

Participants at the workplan meeting included (from left to right) Dr. Elijah Ogunsola, Executive Director, Ogun State Primary Healthcare Development Agency; Rael Odengo, Program Officer NURHI project, Baltimore; Dr. Mojisola Odeku, Family Planning Portfolio Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs Nigeria; Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, Commissioner for Health Ogun State; Dr. Victor Igharo, Director of The Challenge Initiative Nigeria hub; and Mr. Akinsewa Akiode, Director, Family Planning Portfolio, Research Monitoring and Evaluation.