North-Eastern Nigeria is a challenging environment for maternal and newborn health projects to implement innovations to improve the survival of mothers and babies, let alone manage to get their innovations scaled-up from the area the project is working in up to a large scale so the innovations benefit a wider group of people.
Dr Neil Spicer with colleagues at Health Hub Ltd, Nigeria, conducted 50 in-depth interviews with key actors* in the Nigeria maternal and newborn health field to understand what enables or inhibits scale-up of maternal and newborn health innovations in North-Eastern Nigeria.
How can we catalyse scale-up despite the significant challenges?
The research briefing outlines a number of ways in which programmes can work to catalyse scale-up of innovations:
- Design programmes that are scalable in the local political, policy making, economic and social context
- Work closely with government at all stages and align innovations with government policies and programmes
- Harmonise activities with other externally funded programmes
- Advocate for policy decisions by using evidence effectively and seeking support from policy networks and champion
- Work with influential community groups and leaders and stimulate the diffusion of ideas among communities
The study briefing also outlines the significant challenges and some ways in which to overcome them:
- Limited government prioritisation for health, including maternal and newborn health, and a challenging political and policymaking context
- Fragmentation among externally funded health programmes
- Weak health systems including problems of infrastructure, human resources, commodity supply, governance and financing
- A deteriorating security situation
- Sociocultural, geographical and economic barriers to the uptake of maternal and newborn health innovations
*Key actors include: federal and state government staff, development agencies, programme implementers and other civil society organisations, academics, researchers, experts and professional medical associations.