Our dear stakeholders and partners,
Physicians (Doctors) for Social Justice is a local development Organisation working with grassroots community leaders to support and strengthen the health system capable of guaranteeing the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing for children, women, youth and men in the communities we serve.
This 2018 annual report offers a brief insight into the work we do to uphold the right to health as a fundamental human right, focusing principally on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The Report theme of “Reaching Adolescents and Women with Reproductive Health Services”, once more beams the spotlight on one of the big themes in our organizational program portfolio, and speaks directly to our vision of a world where everyone individual in every community lives in optimal health and wellbeing. Even as we hold on to this vision, we also realize that for hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls and women in Nigeria especially rural northern Nigeria, ingrained sociocultural norms and practices that promote harmful gender stereotypes and power imbalances between men and women continue to deny women and girls access to reproductive health as well as the freedom to exercise their sexual and reproductive (SRHR) rights.
We also realize that we cannot succeed in expanding access to SRHR without the support of communities themselves, so we are leveraging on our long-standing social networks and relationships with community gatekeepers to create buy-in and initiate dialogue, as well as sensitize the community stakeholders and recruit champions of women’s human rights from among the community leaders and work closely with them to navigate through age-long power structures.
During this past year, we implemented three major programs in community health; including SRH & PMTCT, HIV prevention & care, as well as malaria prevention & control. We continued with implementation of STRECOMS extension project, a PACF/ViiV Healthcare supported PMTCT project, first launched in 2014, and which continues to have unprecedented impact in reaching thousands of rural women and girls with sexual and reproductive health education & services, including expansion of family planning services. STRECOMS project also focuses on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, thus ensuring that the next generations of babies from our target communities are protected from vertical transmission of HIV. We also continued to deploy our mobile clinics to reach remote rural communities who lack modern health facilities and resources.
We remain ever grateful to all our donors, partners, supporters, state and local government authorities, staff, volunteers, our board and our broader community stakeholders, for all their support that made it possible to achieve all that we achieved in 2018. Thank you for all your support.
Physicians (Doctors) for Social Justice (PSJ) is a non-profit community-based development organization registered with the government of Nigeria. PSJ was founded in 2004 by young physicians who witnessed firsthand, the devastating impact of poverty and disease on the rural poor in northern Nigeria. Working with meager resources, under very challenging circumstances and environment, PSJ’s activities aim to reduce the burden of diseases among the rural poor, as well as promote community health, for marginalized rural communities.
How we Work
PSJ is working to address health, and broader social justice issues affecting poor rural communities in northern Nigeria, while also strengthening their capacities to advocate for their rights, and to keep their women, children and young people healthy.
PSJ uses innovative, practical, cost-effective solutions to reduce the burden of diseases and health challenges, while strengthening the capacities of marginalized rural communities to keep their women, children and young people healthy.
PSJ’s broad framework and holistic strategy addresses the full spectrum of health and social issues that limit rural people’s access to healthcare and that lead death of women, children and young people: from weak health systems and impeded transport to lacking community awareness about health and family planning. We are creating social change by promoting health-seeking behaviors in families, developing the capacity of local people as community volunteers through training, and initiating community dialogue that encourages community to place priority on women’s health. Through community outreach activities, PSJ mobilize families to access primary health services and treatment. PSJ engages in local and state level advocacy to the duty bearers to invest in human right fulfilling areas of health, sanitation, and education.
Who we Support
PSJ’s target groups are the most vulnerable populations in marginalized communities; women, children, young people, sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. PSJ currently serve a population of approximately 200,000 rural women, youths, children, and families affected by HIV/AIDS in rural northern Nigeria, through sustainable grassroots projects that help keep communities health and strengthen local capacity to deliver essential health services to their vulnerable populations.
Since inception, PSJ’s mobile clinic has reached 87000 women and children over the past 10 years, and in the process saved thousands of lives. “The mobile clinic is a lifeline for children and women in the marginalized communities we serve. “Once they arrive our village, the doctor, the two nurses, the two midwives, the community health extension worker and the drug dispenser all work tirelessly to attend to all our sick women and children. The midwives conduct antenatal care for pregnant women; the nurses provide immunization, vitamin A supplementation and deworming medicines to our children”, said Halimatu, 22 and a nursing mother of four in Kawo village.
In 2018, PSJ community health program reached additional 3800 rural people mainly women and children in 5 remote districts of rural Niger State through the deployment of 4-wheel drive vehicle which enabled PSJ’s Mobile Clinic team of physicians, nurses, and midwives to reach remote villages to provide lifesaving health services to the rural poor especially women and children. The mobile clinic outreach has enabled PSJ provide life-saving healthcare services and preventive health services to communities who would otherwise not have access to such services. Working in partnership with rural communities, the mobile health clinic strives to provide primary health care services to communities that lack access to modern healthcare. Many remote rural villages have no functional health facilities; other barriers to accessing health services include the long distance from their village to the nearest health facility, the financial cost of obtaining services. PSJ’s mobile clinic is helping to eliminate these barriers by taking healthcare to the doorsteps of these rural people free of charge.
PSJ’s mobile clinic services is enabling villages of last mile access primary health care services right at their doorsteps.
Strengthening Capacity of Communities for Sustained Delivery of Integrated HIV and SRH Services (STRECOMS) Extension Project, is a PMTCT project being implemented from a generous grant by ViiV Healthcare through the Positive Action for Children’s Fund (PACF). The STRECOMS Project implementation which commenced in January 2018, is building on the achievements and impact of STRECOMS original project which ran from 2014–2016, by focusing on communities and schools, and targeting to keep 20,000 HIV negative adolescent girls and young women within the age group of (10-24) negative, and prevent unintended pregnancies among HIV positive women while linking women and their families to PMTCT and ART services in collaboration with communities, health facilities and the local health authorities.
Between January and December 2018, STRECOMS Extension project achieved set targets for the first year, which is to reach at least 50% of the cumulative target of direct beneficiaries for the total project duration of 24 months). Direct beneficiaries reached include 14809 adolescents aged 10-19 years, 825 pregnant young women 20-24 years, 1660 non-pregnant young women 20-24 years, 817 pregnant women 25+ years, 246 non-pregnant women 25+ years, and 577 boys and men with combination of key HIV/SRH/HTC/ART and other PMTCT service deliverables. Services provided include HIV prevention education/SRH behaviour change communication activities to keep HIV negative women negative especially both in-school and out-of-school young girls aged 10-19years, and young women 20-24years, HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC), Linkage to PMTCT and ART for those who tested positive and/ or SRH/ family planning counselling and PHDP services for HIV-positive women and couples.
Key advocacy activities during this period include continuing engagement visits to school authorities (principals and vice principals), Director of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs, Director of Ministry of Health, Director-Child Ministry of Education, Family Life and Health Education (FLHE) desk officer of the Ministry of Education and the FLHE officers in the two Local council areas where the project is being implemented.
STRECOMS also continued with capacity building and mentoring support to the Association of Women Living with HIV in Niger State (ASWHAN), embedding two program facilitators to provide ongoing technical assistance, as well as providing transport and other logistical support to ASWHAN as they embarked on policy advocacy to improve HIV and PMTCT governance in Niger State. In this regard, ASWHAN is now actively engaging the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Niger State Agency for the Control of AIDS and the department of Health in the two LGAs where project is being implemented, advocating for improved budgetary allocation for HIV and PMTCT programs, as well as for optimal integration of family planning into ongoing PMTCT
STRECOMS also facilitated implementation of community-based and facility-linked SRH and family planning services by already trained health workers; reaching 1030 young women, women living with HIV and couples living with HIV with modern family planning services.
Fifteen health facilities in Kontagora and Chanchage were supported with HIV test kits and multivitamins for pregnant and post natal mothers. Trained health workers in the communities were engaged to conduct community-based HTC in target communities whose village heads have become champions of women health. The Community sensitizations focused on HIV related stigma related issues in the community and to inform the community members on the basic facts of HIV/AIDS and other SRH issues, as well as enrol pregnant women who test positive into facility-based PMTCT care.
PSJ’s on-the-ground work in rural Niger State is gradually changing the course of HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities. In 2018, PSJ mobilized religious and community stakeholders including village chiefs, community elders, religious leaders, women leaders, youth groups, cultural custodians who have now transformed into champions for HIV prevention.
Our HIV prevention program also surged with continuing engagement of additional HIV Peer Educators, PEs, who were trained and supported to facilitate SRH peer sessions and HIV education. Thereafter, trained PEs conducted HIV prevention and SRH peer sessions both in community and schools. In total, 14607 girls aged 10 – 19 and 1464 young women aged 20 – 24 years were reached with the complete doze of HIV awareness and comprehensive SRH education using MPPI strategy and the PEP model in both LGAs in from January to December 2018.
Services provided include HIV prevention education/SRH behaviour change communication activities to keep HIV negative women negative especially both in-school and out-of-school young girls aged 10-19years, and young women 20-24years, HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC), Linkage to PMTCT and ART for those who tested positive and/ or SRH/ family planning counselling and PHDP services for HIV-positive women and couples.
Also, community level primary HIV prevention, SRH education, and HTC in were implemented through trained Peer Educators. Targeted HIV prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) education were implemented using the minimum prevention package of interventions (MPPI) strategies to reach Adolescent girls, Young and Women of reproductive age who would otherwise, not have access to such lifesaving information.
With support from Global Giving Foundation, under the Contributing to the Rapid and Sustained Scale-up of Malaria Control Interventions for Impact in Nigeria, PSJ’s Malaria Prevention Project continues to expand to more rural communities. In 2018, our malaria prevention initiative reached 3200 individuals including children U5 and pregnant mothers in households and families in nine rural communities with malaria prevention education, life-saving medicines and scientifically proven cost-effective malaria vector control technologies such as insecticide treated nets (ITNs). In 2018 alone, PSJ distributed 800 insecticide treated net to pregnant women and children under-5 in rural Niger State. To procure ITNs and distribute them free-of-charge to poor community members, PSJ depends entirely on donations by philantropic individuals mostly through the GlobalGiving Foundation donation platform at www.globalgiving.com.
A major component goal of the malaria prevention project strategy is social mobilization aimed at sustaining community support for malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment behaviors. Mobilizing communities for healthy change involves taping into social networks, and building on the strength of long-held cultural values. Our social mobilization involves enlisting community leaders to advance the program’s cause through social engagement, compound meetings, sensitization and advocacy to community stakeholders at multiple levels, with the aim of creating demand for available malaria services, educating community members and promoting health seeking behavior of every individual in the community through interpersonal communication.