FHI 360's integrated approach to delivering humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria
FHI 360 is delivering lifesaving health care; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; and protection for survivors of gender-based violence in Borno State, Nigeria. Our integrated approach to providing urgently needed solutions requires a unique perspective on service delivery. The health team from our Integrated Humanitarian Assistance to Northeast Nigeria project explains our approach as we leverage our development expertise to respond to the crisis in this region.
Can you elaborate on how FHI 360’s expertise in development is connected to its humanitarian assistance work, specifically in the health sector?
FHI 360 has been an active player in delivering integrated health services in environments that are politically unstable or that present security challenges. We have conducted this work using strategies and delivery models that are context-sensitive, neutral and cost-effective. Our Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services project in northeastern Nigeria continues our assistance to this region — which includes the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe — even at the peak of the Boko Haram conflict from 2011 to the present.
FHI 360 has been able to maintain this work by continually adapting to the crisis context and engaging with a range of partners, including state and local governments, security agencies, community-based organizations and religious institutions. And now, we are using our existing networks and local resources in a new project, our Integrated Humanitarian Assistance to Northeast Nigeria project. This project delivers desperately needed assistance, including health, WASH and gender-based violence protection services, in Borno State. It is funded by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Could you tell us about some of the partnerships FHI 360 is building to deliver health services during the Boko Haram crisis?
The Borno State Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency provide the structure and enabling environment that allow FHI 360 to deliver primary health care and sexual and reproductive health services in Dikwa and Ngala. We are currently collaborating with UNICEF to provide health care services at the primary health care clinics in these locations. We have also partnered with the Hospitals Management Board to reopen Dikwa General Hospital.
Another of our priorities is to improve the resilience of the Borno health system overall. FHI 360 is leading joint efforts of partners to build the state’s capacity to govern and manage the primary health care system. These efforts include improving human resource policies and practices, strengthening the ability of local institutions to use local resources and improving health information management and research. We are also working with Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency and State Emergency Management Agency.
How do you integrate this work across sectors?
The project’s integrated approach allows for early connections and cooperation across our multisector interventions. For example, we have combined our efforts in the sectors of health, WASH and protection against gender-based violence to provide for the basic needs of people in Dikwa and Ngala. Our projects in the health and WASH sectors together help promote infection prevention and control, address health education and proper hygiene needs, and provide safe waste disposal systems. These sectors are also working together at Dikwa General Hospital to renovate their toilet facilities and provide clean water in the hospital wards.
Similarly, our health and protection sectors jointly provide services to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. They also promote changes in behavior and communication on the issues of sexual and reproductive health in the camps for internally displaced persons and in the host communities outside these camps. These two sectors are also collaborating to improve how health workers care for rape survivors.
In addition to these activities, the project collaborates with other FHI 360 projects that operate in conflict situations, such as our Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services project and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Internally Displaced People Protection project. These projects share knowledge, skills, resources and best practices; participate in coordination and security meetings; conduct joint planning; and hold joint performance review meetings.
Photo credit: Steven Farshing/FHI 360