Building Healthy Communities: PSJ Update

For Physicians for Social Justice (PSJ), health is not just a service, it’s a right. Since the launch of the AiD supported activities in April 2013, PSJ has provided basic health care and education to approximately 1,000 women and children in Niger State, Nigeria.

As its first step, PS J conducted 6 community sessions to engage the community members in the design and implementation of its health activities. The organization met with village leaders, religious figures, and heads of women’s associations to explain its work, to secure buy-in, and to develop a plan for when the mobile health clinic services would be provided over the course of the next year. This type and level of community involvement is key to ensuring the continued success of its health outreach and education, which can be carried out by community leaders even once PSJ’s stops operating in these regions.

Following its community engagement sessions, PSJ began providing mobile health services in three villages in Rural Mashegu, Niger State. PSJ is the only organization offering any form of modern health care to women, children and families in these communities. To date, through the AiD funds, PSJ has reached 500 women and 565 children with immunizations, antenatal and postnatal health care and education, HIV counseling and testing, basic hygiene and sanitation education, and treatment of endemic diseases.

These services are especially critical since Rural Mashegu has high infant and maternal mortality rates. By providing pre- and post-natal health care, health education, and treatment, the organization’s work tackles these challenges directly. For example, Abdul (pictured right) is just three months old. Prior to the PSJ mobile health clinic, his mother had not received health care. Through PSJ’s community mobile health project, Abdul received immunization against TB and polio, leading causes of death in the community, and his mother was given postnatal education, HIV counseling and testing, and basic health education to ensure Abdul remains healthy and happy. The question is no longer will he survive, but how will we make sure he thrives?