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Sustainable Health Management in Emergencies for Maternal, Newborn and the Girl child at the Local Level

HERFON intends to build resilience against health emergency by stimulating Awareness, Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Local Level

Photo of Dr. Emmanuel Abanida
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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

• Poor synergy amongst health responders and in some cases delayed response by health responders to health challenges in times of crisis. • Increased Gender-based violence against women and girls living in displaced areas. • Weak capacity to prevent health emergencies and/or provide some standardized local level response to health emergencies relating to women and girls. There is the need for individuals (women and adolescent girls) and communities to be resilient in the face of crisis. This is guaranteed when they are informed and empowered to overcome issues of health emergencies. • Weak public health preparedness and response infrastructure.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

• How do we ensure an effective collaborative effort amongst health responders in emergencies? • How do we strengthen individual and community prevention and response to Gender Based Violence in emergency? • What strategy should be adopted in building community resilience in the face of crisis? • What public health preparedness and response mechanisms are in place? How do we strengthen them for high impact results?

Explain Your Idea

The idea involves a process that can help individuals (women and girls) and communities prevent, prepare for and respond appropriately to health challenges and gender based violence in emergencies. Idea objectives: • To enhance synergy amongst health responders and put in place a rapid response mechanism for health challenges relating to women and girls in times of crisis. • To reduce by half, within 18 months, the incidences of Gender-based violence against women and girls in communities ravaged by crisis. • To build the capacity of 8 affected communities to prevent health emergencies and/or provide some standardized local level response to health emergencies relating to women and girls. • To integrate health responders’ public health preparedness and response plans and local emergency plans into an overall plan for the communities to handle all forms of emergencies relating to women and girls. • To empower 100 women and 5,000 girls with support cash and livelihood programme within 18 months to address vulnerabilities. Six components for implementation among others: 1. Rapid baseline studies of risk, vulnerability and coping capacity of communities. 2. Consultative and advocacy meetings with relevant stakeholders. 3. Identification and selection of beneficiaries of support cash and livelihood programmes using beneficiary assessment tools. 4. Develop and disseminate guide books in local languages for emergency responses 5. Public Awareness and Enlightenment...

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

• This idea will contribute to reducing the impacts of emergencies on the health of women and girls through information sharing and documentation. • It is expected that selected local communities would have a structure in place and would be empowerment for timely response to health emergencies in times of crisis e.g Well-built camps, equipped Health posts etc. • This idea will also ensure an effective collaboration amongst health responders and community actors.

How is your idea unique?

It allows Involve members of the local community in the development, testing and implementation of the overall emergency response plan. The concept is based on domiciliation of the process with local people. It will produce sustainable results through the steps below: 1. Evaluate risks and hazards through active participation of women and girls in the community. 2. Review existing preparedness and response plans and identify weakness. 3. Identify the required response tasks not covered by the existing plans. 4. Match these tasks to the resources available from the identified participants. 5. Make the changes necessary to improve existing plans, integrate them into an overall emergency response and communication plan and gain agreement. 6. Commit the integrated plan into writing and obtain endorsement. 7. Communicate the plan to the general community through advocacy and sensitization meetings. 8. Identify and select women and girls for improved empowerment

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

• What Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment model would be deployed in the process? • Is there existing health emergency response in place at local level? • What other steps aside of community engagement need to be taken to ensure sustainability and duplicity?

Who are your end users?

The entire community will benefit but more focus will be placed on Women and adolescent Girl Child who live in Makurdi Local government and other 7 communities of Benue State (an estimation of 150,000 females by the population census) would be able to enjoy sustainable benefit and improve their quality of life (mental and physical health) even in the face of displacement. Invariably, when the female gender is preserved and equipped for disaster, the whole community (estimated to be over 400,000 people) will benefit as women are known to be the heart of any nation. This benefit will also be passed on to neighboring communities as a result of sustainability strategy

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Nigeria

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Community at risk of disaster

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

Over the years,communities in Benue state has been faced with a serious environmental and health emergencies.This emergency of high impact is flooding as a result of poor drainage has rendered many families homeless. It is extremely regrettable that in the midst of the entire crisis,women’s vulnerability still reared its ugly head. Cases of rape and other forms of sexual abuses have been recorded across four designated campsites in Benue State thus leading to psychological issues and oppression.

What is your organization's name?


Tell us more about you.

The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) is a Nigerian non-governmental membership organization, established in 2004 with the specific purpose of catalyzing reforms within the health sector in Nigeria. The Foundation's unique capability lies in its membership strength and presence in the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory. The social status, competence and diverse technical expertise of both members and staff provide HERFON with enormous pool of human resources to undertake health policy advocacy, capacity building including training of front-line service delivery workforce, research and the use of research findings to influence policy actions and legislation, including funding decisions.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Indigenous-led organization
  • Locally/community-led organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - 1+ communities within 1 country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

HERFON is duly registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a Trust. The Foundation is based in Nigeria, has its headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory with 36State branches.

What is your organizational status?

  • Registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.


How has your idea changed based on feedback?

Getting feedback from some affected beneficiaries has helped to shape our timeline and session it out well. It has also helped us to understand health challenges women and girls of reproductive age face in local camps, agencies that are in place and the gender-based issues the people face on a daily basis since the disaster occurrence which was very useful for us in planning out our strategies for the project phase. In addition, Storytelling webinar and feedback from the OpenIDEO team was able to highlight areas we need to expatiate as well as how to harmonize our story. Overall, the challenge has impacted on us in a big way and the feedbacks has served as a framework for us to refine our idea in a more strategic way.

Who will implement this idea?

The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria has its spread in the 36 states of Nigeria including FCT. Its membership comprises decision makers, influencers, academicians etc. HERFON also serves as the secretariat of a coalition of CSOs towards improving health systems in Nigeria. Leveraging on all this and its existing partnership with relevant institutions, the foundation will diligently work to achieve its goal of ensuring sustainable health plans are enshrined in all state activities in order to improve Maternal and Girl child health in Benue state. Eight Staffs will be supporting this process (3 HQ staffs located in Abuja who will provide oversight and technical functions to ensure sustainability, 2 State Staffs located in Makurdi and 1 M&E advisor). 3 staffs- 100% LOE, 2- 50% and 1 - 40%

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria is a think-tank organisation that focuses on ensuring better health for all Nigerians especially the poor and vulnerable people. Our approach to work is based on four (04) areas: Partnership, Advocacy, Capacity Building and Evidence Generation. Evidence generated are put to use by looking out for possible ways of intervention and support. To get the best out of every intervention and ensure project sustainability we pay more attention to stakeholder engagement which allows up to get the input of beneficiaries and address it as needed in our project design - A representative of each beneficiary are also involved in this phase. Overall, big decisions are made at the management level with all staffs input and signed off by the Executive Secretary

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

At Individual level,the people of Benue state are faced with loss of their properties and several infrastructure such as clinics and school buildings, numerous health issues as Cold, Malaria, Sexual assault, as well as no access to health facilities. The System- level challenge we discovered to be of enormous impact is the long response time of the State Emergency Management Agency to areas in the community. There is no proactive system in place to respond to emergency issues. Also another major challenge in the communities is the blockage of waterways as a result of dumping of refuse into water channels and since the drainage system are poorly constructed the water has nowhere to flow through. In addition, the River Benue is a huge challenge as it needs to be dredged to accommodate water

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

IMPACT: By 2020, our goal is for this intervention to have built community resilience to flooding in Benue state and integrate local and national health response plans into an overall community charter while empowering 5100 displaced women and girls QUESTION: How do we ensure that the project is sustained over the years and that the community people Own this intervention and can on their own expand it to neigbouring communities to benefit from it over the years.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

We believe Amplify Challenge is a platform to be inspired and give room for innovation which will allow us to get the best for our intervention and think out of the box. It is also different from the traditional funding as the support from the ever-ready OpenIDEO team is one to cherish and our team and the beneficiary community will surely benefit a lot from it. In addition, the Challenge focuses on human-centered design which will definitely help capture sustainability.

Do you intend to implement your Amplify idea in refugee camps / temporary settlements?

  • We aim to implement our Amplify idea in support of displaced populations, but not in a refugee camp / temporary settlement.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Less than 6 months

How many of your organizations’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • No paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Program/Service Design


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Dr. Emmanuel Abanida great to have you in the Challenge! It sounds like you have an ambitious proposal, would love to learn a little more about your strategy to implement and timeline?

Looking forward to learning more about the important work you are doing!

Photo of Dr. Emmanuel Abanida

thanks a lot Ashley. Sorry for the late response. We have been on field with poor network. I have attached our strategy in our idea. Please feel free to read through and we are sure open to more suggestion and feedback. Thank you.

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