I just returned from conducting an information needs assessment in northern Nigeria for the Programme for Reviving Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria-Maternal Neonatal Child Health (PRRINN-MNCH). Although my work in Nigeria was not specifically for K4Health, the findings definitely compliment the needs assessments we have undertaken in other countries.
The program headquarters is in Kano, but I traveled to three other states where it operates, including Katsina, Jigawa and Yobe. The research team – which included me and another consultant – conducted 22 interviews and two focus group discussions (FGDs) over a three week period. FGDs were harder to coordinate, so we ended up doing fewer of them. We targeted our interviews and focus groups to PRRINN-MNCH key stakeholders such as state and local government, NGO’s working on MNCH and routine immunization, academic institutions, the media, health care providers, and traditional leaders.
Our objectives were to assess the health priorities among the stakeholders in each state, to determine barriers to accessing information, to identify information gaps and to learn how PRRINN-MNCH can help to fill them. We also wanted to discover what formats and languages are best for receiving and sharing information, and to uncover what kinds of technologies are available in the workplace.
The major information needs reported by respondents were in the areas of MNCH, routine immunization, malaria, FP/RH and HIV/AIDS. Most informants reported looking online for information, but said the Internet is often unreliable and they also lack time to search. In addition to online channels, they indicated that workshops, trainings, printed documents, videos and radio were useful channel for communicating and disseminating information. Although some stakeholders interviewed did not have regular access to computers, all had at least one cell phone that they used for work — mostly to coordinate meetings and activities. Overall, there was a strong need for a central information system that both PRRINN-MNCH staff and their stakeholders could use to store, access and share information.
This needs assessment complements the work that we are doing here at K4Health in other countries to assess audience health information needs. Although the findings from Nigeria focused on routine immunization and MNCH, they are very much in line with K4Health’s findings from a similar needs assessment conducted in Malawi
, which you can read about on our Web site.
If you are interested in learning more about my needs assessment activity in Nigeria feel free to shoot me an email
Vanessa Mitchell, Program Specialist