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Banyan Global Celebrates International Youth Day with Nigerian Nursing and Midwifery Students

On August 12, 2022, Banyan Global hosted a virtual International Youth Day (IYD) event titled “Youth Perspectives on Human Resources for Health in Nigeria.” Nursing and midwifery students supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded and Banyan Global-implemented Nigeria Health Workforce Management (HWM) Activity shared their perspectives.

Sofia Cortes, Senior Program Coordinator at Banyan Global, provided opening remarks. Ms. Cortes mentioned other Banyan Global work on youth programs including the USAID-funded Honduras Workforce Development Activity—Empleando Futurosand the USAID-funded Recycling in Jordan Activity. She noted that Nigeria has one of the youngest populations in the world (its median age is just over 18 years) and it’s one of 57 countries with a critical shortage of health workers.

Nursing and midwifery students from Sokoto State share their perspectives.
Nursing and midwifery students from Sokoto State share their perspectives.

Uchenna Ebenezer, Ebonyi State HRH Coordinator for the HWM Activity, then led a youth panel discussion. The panelists were students from pre-service health training institutions (PSHTIs) in Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kebbi, and Sokoto States, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The students discussed their motivations to enter the health workforce and the meaningful participation of young people in Nigeria’s health system.

“Being a nurse is something I always wanted to do,” shared a female student from Sokoto state. “From the beginning of life as a baby to the end of life, it’s a privilege to care for the patient.”

Ms. Ebenezer posed questions about health care worker recruitment strategies, hardship post requirements, brain drain, and social norms.

“As a health care worker you need to educate and enlighten,” shared a female student from the FCT. “Community mobilization is key…. If you get the communities involved in health-seeking behaviors, I believe you’ll have positive outcomes.”

Nursing and midwifery students from Ebonyi State share their perspectives.
Nursing and midwifery students from Ebonyi State share their perspectives.

The students also discussed the educational resources available and the adaptations made at their PSHTIs since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We need a lot of computers in our schools, access to Internet, e-libraries and [other technologies] to enhance our academic investigation and other work,” a male student from Bauchi state shared. “The Coronavirus has allowed us to combat the [technology] gap… improving our education to meet global standards.”

Olufolake Akeju, Technical Director of the HWM Activity, provided closing remarks. Dr. Akeju thanked the PHSTIs in the 4+1 states for their partnership with Banyan Global under the HWM Activity.

“The HWM Activity is committed to working with our partners to ensure that we intensify our advocacy efforts with state governments to recruit and deploy qualified health workers,” said Dr. Akeju. “We are also working with state governments to provide the necessary amenities in rural areas, and provide e-library facilities to the schools we support over the coming months.”

Watch the complete IYD event recording below.