ARFH conceptualized and implemented the Private Health Sector Capacity Building Project in 9 Nigerian States (1999 to 2011) funded by David and Lucille Packard Foundation. The project focused on enhancing the capacity of various cadres of health care providers to offer quality integrated reproductive health and family planning services. The choice of the private health sector was based on the premise that they provide 60% of Nigerian’s health care services and has an important role to play in health care development. It was implemented in collaboration with Association of General Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Nigerian Private Nurses and Midwives (NPNMA) and the National Association of Proprietary Patent Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) and other non-health professional groups including Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Service Delivery Agents (SDAs).
Also included were the non-health professionals – patent medicine vendors and traditional birth attendants, in view of the complimentary roles they play in health care delivery most especially in the area of community mobilization, awareness creation, distribution of non-prescriptive contraceptives and referral. On this initiative, the capacity of 984 health personnel including physicians, nurses, and auxiliaries was enhanced to provide quality RH services. Six hundred and ninety (690) non-health professionals (i.e. TBAs PMVs), Male Advocates, Small scale business owners (Service Delivery Agents – SDAs), and Health Promoters were also trained on nonprescriptive FP/RH services, counselling and referral.
The four phases of the Private Health Sector Capacity Building project over a period of ten years demonstrated the feasibility of integrating family planning services into existing services of private health sector. Capacity building of health care providers specifically improved the quality of care in the project facilities and increased RH service utilization.
Through the private health capacity building projects the following were achieved:
- Expanded lifesaving skills including post-abortion care and Management of Emergency Obstetrics Care services through capacity building.
- Updated skills in creating demand for FP utilization and services.
- Improved strategies for integration and multi-dimensional approaches for ARFH services including counselling and provision of services to young people in private clinics.
- The expansion of the scope of private health sector services from clinic based to public health programming through community education in order to generate demand for FP services as well as improve health seeking behaviors.
- It also improved the attention placed on Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS prevention into private health practice.
- Improved quality control on the work through the training of TBAs to curtail the level of emergency obstetrics care and referrals in core rural communities.