Lack of access to quality health care providers has been identified as one of the primary root causes of health inequity and is disproportionately experienced by people living in remote and rural communities. An adequate health workforce is key to effective health services and achieving improved health outcomes. This is crucial as Nigeria is one of the 57 countries experiencing critical shortage of health workers. Northern Nigeria however, faces more substantial health workers shortage, which impedes the ability of state governments to respond to high maternal and child mortality. To improve the health status of northern Nigerians therefore, there is the need to amongst other strategies increase the numbers and ensure equitable distribution of female health workers in rural areas.

W4H supported the state governments to make significant progress in women’s education and empowerment, training and education of health workers and increasing access to women and children’s health. With this, northern Nigeria has demonstrated that it is possible to bridge the equity divide and increase the number and quality of health workers.

Four papers map the implementation experience, By identifying the nature of inequity for women and girls in education and health of Northern Nigeria the panel were able to map out key interventions; including results, achievements, challenges and lessons learnt from the UK-aid funded W4H programme in five northern states of Nigeria.

Evidence generated by the W4H programme has shed light on the nature of inequity in education and health of northern Nigerian women and girls as well as efficient and effective means for overcoming these challenges. By strategically identifying and involving all stakeholders, and applying multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted approaches to the range of challenges encountered, the W4H programme has given rural women and girls a “second chance” and hope to the promise of Universal Health Coverage for “every women, every child.”

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