In Nigeria, we collaborate with the government, local organizations, and the private sector to improve health access and address challenges to the health of women, children, and families.

Karen Kasmauski/MCSP

Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and is a key player on the continent.7 Its economic progress has helped raise Nigerians out of poverty and has contributed to the nation’s growth; Nigeria accounts for about half of the overall West African population, and it has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. However, four in 10 Nigerians still live in poverty,8 and rapid population growth has increased pressure on the country’s health system. Women and children are especially vulnerable; negative gender-related norms make it difficult for women and girls to access the care they deserve, and women and children continue to die at unacceptably high rates.

Partnerships with Nigeria’s government and local and national organizations are key to helping Nigerian women and children access high-quality health care now and well into the future. MOMENTUM works with the Government of Nigeria, local organizations, and the private sector to improve health access in the country and address challenges to the health of women, children, and families. We work with our partners to prevent gender-based violence, child marriage, and early pregnancy among Nigerian women and girls; improve surgical care for women; and prevent and treat obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation/cutting.  We are also conducting a study to compare the costs of delivering health services in the private and public sectors to better understand how private for-profit and nonprofit providers can better serve Nigerian citizens.

Learn more about our programs in West Africa


Addressing Social Norms that Influence Gender-Based Violence, Child Marriage, and Early Pregnancy

In Nigeria, social norms that influence intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early adolescent pregnancy, child marriage, and other related factors contribute to the suffering and death of many mothers. MOMENTUM supports Nigeria to address these challenges by:

  • Working to prevent violence against women and girls and mitigate its consequences.
  • Addressing the causes of child, early, and forced marriages.
  • Helping young women begin using voluntary contraception as early as possible to avoid adolescent pregnancy.

We work with local partners to explore the social norms that make it harder for women and children to live healthy lives using the Social Norms Exploration Tool from the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. In addition, we use the Integrated Technical Organizational Capacity Assessment tool to support local partners in addressing gender-based violence, early marriage, and adolescent pregnancy. Finally, we use the Behaviorally-Focused Applied Political Economy Analysis to engage local leaders in changing harmful social norms.

Richard Z. Taylor, USAID/Nigeria
Private Health Care Sector

Understanding the Costs of Delivering Private and Public Health Care

Sixty-eight percent of health spending in Nigeria occurs in the private sector.9 However, little is known about the cost of private health care, making it difficult for government decision-makers to effectively allocate resources within the health system. MOMENTUM is conducting a study comparing health costs—especially the costs of family planning and maternal health services— in the private, private nonprofit, and public sectors so that publicly funded health programs can decide whether and how to work with private providers.

Karen Kasmauski/MCSP
Safe Surgical Care

Improving Surgical Care

We support local governments, organizations, and health workers in Nigeria to collaborate and strengthen their ability to provide high-quality surgical services for pregnant women, such as cesarean sections. Our collaboration focuses on:

  • Improving referral systems so that pregnant women can more readily access life-saving care.
  • Helping facilities share information about safe surgical care with each other.
  • Supporting the Government of Nigeria to update, adopt, disseminate, and encourage health facilities and providers to use evidence-based guidelines for fistula care and prevention.
  • Training health workers to provide safe, high-quality surgical obstetric care.
Karen Kasmauski/MCSP
Maternal and Newborn Health

Preventing, Treating, and Raising Awareness of Obstetric Fistula

Forty percent of the world’s obstetric fistula cases occur in Nigeria, with an estimated 13,000 new cases per year.10 Obstetric fistula—a maternal injury that occurs when obstructed labor leaves a hole in the birth canal—is treatable and almost always preventable. MOMENTUM supports communities, health workers, and institutions to raise awareness of obstetric fistula prevention and treatment and provide holistic care for women with fistula.

Carielle Doe/USAID

Preventing and Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Two hundred million girls and women around the world have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, with Nigeria accounting for more than one-quarter of these cases.11 MOMENTUM works to prevent female genital mutilation/cutting in Nigeria and respond to negative health impacts among women who have experienced it. This support includes partnering with the government, health sector, and communities so that health workers can provide appropriate medical care and counseling to women who have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting and effectively advocate against it. We also support local organizations and leaders to create strategies to eliminate female genital mutilation/cutting and support survivors to help them overcome their experiences.

Karen Kasmauski/MCSP
About the MOMENTUM Projects Working in Nigeria

MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership focuses on preventing and mitigating the consequences of violence against women and girls; addressing the causes of child, early, and forced marriage; and preventing early adolescent pregnancies in Nigeria.

MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery is conducting a study in Nigeria to better understand how the costs of key family planning and maternal health services vary between public, private for-profit, and private nonprofit providers.

MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics helps provide high-quality, voluntary, medically necessary, and consented safe surgeries, prevent and treat obstetric fistula, and eliminate female genital mutilation/cutting for Nigerian women.


  1. Kaneda, Toshiko, Charlotte Greenbaum, and Carl Haub. 2021 World Population Data Sheet. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau. 2021.
  2. Kaneda, Toshiko, Charlotte Greenbaum, and Carl Haub. 2021 World Population Data Sheet.
  3. Kaneda, Toshiko, Charlotte Greenbaum, and Carl Haub. 2021 World Population Data Sheet.
  4. Roser, Max and Hannah Ritchie. “Maternal Mortality.” 2017.
  5. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Country Profiles:  Nigeria.” 2017.
  6. Countdown to 2030. “Countdown Country Dashboard: Nigeria.”
  7. World Bank. “The World Bank in Nigeria.” November 2020.
  8. World Bank. Poverty & Equity Brief: Nigeria. April 2021.
  9. USAID and Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus.  “Nigeria.” 2016.
  10. Bello, Oluwasomidoyin Olukemi, Imran Oludare Morhason-Bello, and Oladosu Akanbi Ojenbede. 2020. “Nigeria, a High Burden State of Obstetric Fistula: A Contextual Analysis of Key Drivers.” Pan African Medical Journal 36 (22).
  11. Gbadebo, Babatunde M. et al. 2021. “Cohort Analysis of the State of Female Genital Cutting in Nigeria: Prevalence, Daughter Circumcision and Attitude Towards Its Discontinuation.” BMC Women’s Health 21 (182).

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