Posts Tagged ‘PATHS2’

Nnenna Ike, MannionDaniels’ Behaviour Change Communication Specialist, spoke at the MSH Anniversary Event in Abuja, Nigeria.

The event was held to celebrate the work on health system strengthening and community health interventions carried out by a variety of partners in Nigeria.

Nenna Ike MSH Talk

Nnenna’s talk focused on how to promote behaviour change in the community.  Based on MannionDaniels’ experience with the PATHS2 programme in Nigeria, we identified three key strategies:

  1. Inclusion:  If we want people to adopt healthy household behaviours, we have to involve some otherwise ignored informal players in the health sector such as traditional healers, traditional birth attendants and other key influencers in the community. They can feel intimidated by BCC that promotes early care-seeking because it threatens their livelihood.  We have brought them into the program as partners – rather than rivals – by taking their advice, by integrating their responses, and then by linking them to health facilities.  When they have a positive attitude towards health facilities, they promote early care-seeking to their clients.  This has increased the acceptance and utilisation of health facilities.

  3. Acceptability:  Different states in Nigeria have different cultures.  When trying to improve the adoption of healthy household behaviours, we need to work respectfully and sensitively within those cultures and existing traditional structures.  This includes considering the language; in the North, we communicate the intervention in Hausa but have some PhD students in Bayero state University translating it into Arabic to make it more widely accessible.  In the South, messages have been translated into Yoruba and Igbo languages. We even have products in Pidgin English and Egun language (predominant in western Nigeria).  It also involves considering the cultural norms around men and women – for example, in the North, men and women meet separately, whilst in the South they can meet together for community meetings. Also, we incorporate BCC activities into to existing structures like the ‘August meetings’ and the women fellowships or pregnant women support groups in churches and mosques in the southern states.

  5. Involving men: Men are the main decision-makers when it comes to maternal and reproductive health – so they are a very important group to promote early care-seeking to.  The volunteers in the Northern States we work in are largely men, they act as drivers, blood donors and manage the communal purse dedicated to obstetric emergencies.  In the South, there are male leaders in churches who are given responsibilities, for examples they pray with the women in the pregnancy support groups in churches; and women who go to health facilities with their husbands get a special mention by the health providers.

MSH Anniversary Event Nigeria group talk


Communication body tools are one of the ways in which community awareness of safe motherhood is being promoted by PATHS2 in Nigeria. MannionDaniels is a key consortium partner for PATHS2, working on behaviour change communication.

Comunication body tools pair danger signs in preganacy with a physical action and song.  The tools are participatory, fun, free, and independent from literacy.  They create a full-body mnemonic experience that gives women strong ownership of this life-saving information.

This new film shows community volunteers teaching communication body tools for women and men.




The maternal and child health initiatives that are being piloted by PATHS2 together with local communities  have been receiving positive coverage in the Nigerian media.

In July, both the Vanguard and The Guardian Nigeria carried articles that discuss current health challenges and report positive change brought about by the PATHS2 program.

Read the The Guardian Nigeria article on improvements in maternal and child health in Lagos here.

Read the Vanguard article on health worker recruitment in Enugu here.


In Jigawa, a conservative predominantly Muslim state in Northern Nigeria, maternal mortality rates are atrociously high. PATHS2, a program funded by DFID and implemented by a consortium of organisations including MannionDaniels, works in Jigawa to promote safe motherhood.

Child spacing is a key activity, as described in Jane Dreaper’s BBC article – ‘I want to stop giving birth’ after nine pregnancies.

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launch the FP Summit in London today (July 11th), and Nigeria is one of the 69 focus countries.

PATHS2: Live Healthcare Debate in Nigeria

A highlight of our work on the Output 5 component of PATHS2 in Nigeria has been the live debate on health issues in Kano State that was broadcast on television and radio right across Nigeria in January 2011.

The discussions were part of a campaign across several states to ‘Ask Nigeria’ what it knows, thinks and feels about issues to do with health – in particular health issues around malaria, diarrhoea and pregnancy, as part of the overall DFID PATHS2 healthcare programme. The excellent media coverage has generated discussion, increased public awareness of the issues, and created a pathway for addressing these key healthcare challenges.

On the agenda were issues such as: how and when to involve health services; whether it is acceptable to visit a hospital or whether it goes against local traditions; and what type of health care people were entitled to access if only they knew about it. The debate also touched on finding solutions to the barriers preventing people from getting professional medical help.

The tone of the debates was non-confrontational and emphasised the collective responsibility all people have to health. In the audience were ministry representatives, political parties, local communities, traditional rulers, religious leaders, socially excluded people, media representatives, women’s groups, leaders of youth and professional associations, and NGOs involved in health advocacy and behaviour change. As is traditional, men sat on one side, women on the other, but all were united in their need and desire for more health care services and better health care information.

Discussion around what the ideal situation would be emphasized encouraging people to learn about and understand their entitlements to health care and reassuring communities it was ok to seek professional health advice if a child or person is sick. The debate hoped to dispel some of the myths and fears surrounding modern health care in Nigeria, and promote the improved services and facilities available in many areas.

The media debate had follow-up advertisements in the National Daily newspapers, and dedicated ASK Nigeria email addresses and hotline numbers were provided allowing people to send in feedback, comments and questions. These will help keep the debate alive and inform future public health dialogues at both state and at national level.