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Global Health

Nigeria health
Maternal and child health is one of Nigeria's most critical development challenges


Strengthening the health sector and improving the overall health status of the population are among the most important development issues facing Nigeria. Through the Global Health Initiative, USAID coordinates with the Government of Nigeria to improve human resources for health, deliver high-impact services, and strengthen leadership, management, governance, and accountability for program ownership and sustainability. USAID is also shifting its focus to state and local governments to improve capacity in planning, management, and leadership of programs that address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, family planning, reproductive health, and malaria.

Maternal and Child Health

For the majority of women and children living in Nigeria, life-saving, high-quality primary health care is unavailable. While Nigeria accounts for 2 percent of the world’s population, it contributes to about 10 percent of global maternal, infant and child deaths. Family planning is an effective way to promote safe pregnancy and delivery that protects the lives of mothers and babies, yet only 9.7 percent of women use modern contraceptives; 20 percent want family planning services but do not receive them. Although child mortality has experienced a marked decrease, 16 percent of children die before reaching their fifth birthday, largely as a result of preventable diseases such as malaria, measles, respiratory infections and diarrhea. Malaria alone kills 300,000 children each year, and more than 10 million children are chronically malnourished.

USAID’s maternal and child health efforts focus on immunization, polio eradication, birth preparedness, maternity services and obstetric fistula repairs. USAID is supporting increased access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health services, as well as access to proven preventive and curative interventions—insecticide-treated bed nets, net re-treatment kits, and malaria treatment for children and pregnant women.


Despite various large-scale responses over the past two decades, HIV/AIDS continues to pose a significant development challenge. An estimated 3.14 million people in Nigeria are living with HIV/AIDS—the third highest burden of HIV infections in the world after India and South Africa—and there are an estimated 2.2 million HIV orphans in the country. Nigeria has among the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world, with 460,000 new cases in 2009 alone. The emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis also poses a threat, which may wipe out previous achievements in controlling the disease, if not effectively addressed. 

In partnership with the Government of Nigeria and civil society, USAID is implementing initiatives to prevent mother-to-child, sexual and medical transmission of HIV. These activities are integrated into all of USAID’s care and treatment activities, including HIV counseling and testing services. USAID also provides antiretroviral drugs and services, as well as laboratory support for the diagnosis and monitoring of HIV-positive patients. For patients co-infected with tuberculosis and HIV, activities are designed to reduce transmission of tuberculosis, improve diagnosis, and manage multi-drug-resistant adult and pediatric cases, especially orphans and vulnerable children. 

Nigeria HIV country profile

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Last updated: November 10, 2015

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