One Million Community Health Workers

One Million Community Health Workers

Launch of the Nigeria Village Health Workers Scheme

The launch of the Village Health Workers (VHWs) Program by the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 4th of February 2014, through the Office of Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDG), is a practical demonstration of Federal Government’s commitment towards accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially MDG 4, 5, and 6 by 2015.

Nigeria is planning the deployment and training of 10,000 VHWs to various communities through the interventions of the MDGs office, Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and other sectors. Millions of Nigerians, especially children, pregnant women, adolescents, and the population in remote parts of the country will surely benefit from the services of these cadres with improved access to curative and preventive services to their door steps. Nigeria aims to deploy a target of 154,800 VHWs for national saturation before December 2015.

Guests at the venue of the programme and spectators that watched the event live on Nigerian Television Authority expressed appreciation for this huge political support demonstrated by the personal presence of the First Lady and key stakeholders from Federal and States Ministries of health, national and international partners. “The journey of one million miles begins with one step,” said a mother watching the live event.

Partners, national NGOs and governments at all levels are all invited to support  in ensuring the success and survival of this innovative intervention. The One Million Community Health Workers Campaign Nigeria Operational and Financial Roadmap is already in place under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to serve as a guide for the implementation of this project by all interested stakeholders in and outside Nigeria. Below is a statement by Professor Jeffrey Sachs congratulating Nigeria on the launch:

Message of Congratulations from Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

on the Launch of Nigeria’s MDG Village Health Worker Program

Abuja, Nigeria

I am delighted to join today in the celebration of the launch of the new MDG Village Health Worker Program.  This is an important breakthrough by OSSAP-MDG.  As the President’s MDG Advisor Dr. Precious Gbeneol has rightly noted, until now the OSSAP-MDG program has largely focused on infrastructure. With today’s launch of the MDG Village Health Worker Program, OSSAP-MDG is taking a crucial and creative step towards the support of health-service delivery.  As the Village Health Worker Program scales up over time, millions of Nigerians will benefit from the program being launched today.  It will also serve as an inspiration to other countries also scaling up their cadres of community health workers.

It has been my pleasure and honor for many years to participate in the support of the MDG Scale Up in Nigeria.  Now 15 years ago, I supported President Obasanjo and Finance Minister Ngozi Iwaela when they argued to Nigeria’s foreign creditors that the time had come to give Nigeria a fresh start by ending the debt overhang and enabling Nigeria to begin investing its it people and its future.  I am therefore gratified to see Nigeria’s investment of the debt-relief gains in the MDGs.  Today is an important further step in that wise ongoing investment.

We know from experience throughout Africa that village health workers can make a huge contribution to public health.  With proper training, remuneration, supervision and logistical support, village health workers can treat diseases, alert the community to health challenges, help pregnant women to antenatal care and safe delivery, and save the life infants and children.  With the leadership of OSSAP-MDG, the technical support by Nigeria’s own NPHCDA, and the partnership of the international community – including the 1 Million Community Health Worker Campaign that my colleagues are helping to lead –the new program being launched today will become a beacon to the nation, the region, and the world.


  1. Dr Balogun Noimot (BDS, MSc Public health)

    I am very happy with this development as i just concluded a research on Awareness of mothers about the activities of Community health workers as regards Maternal and Child health promotion in hard to reach communities in Ikorodu, Lagos,and my findings showed that mothers were only aware about their activities on immunization but reported very low awareness on other maternal and child survival interventions. My article will be presented at the forth coming Association of Public health physicians of Nigeria national conference in March.I hope my recommendations will be looked at and used accordingly.My vision is to see health indices improving greatly in the vulnerable and underserved populations.
    Dr Balogun N A, Local technical assistant to PATHS2, Lagos.

  2. Dr Balogun Noimot (BDS, MSc Public health)

    Great efforts.My greatest hope is to see health care right at the door step of the underserved and vulnerable population.I have conducted a research on activities of CHWs in the hard to reach communities and i think this is a good way to tackle the challenges.

    Balogun NA, Local technical assistant to PATHS2 project ,Lagos

  3. Abdullahi Ali Danchua

    well, this is partially a welcomed idea, and could probably be of importance to the heavy challenges faced by maternity service delivery, however, could this solve the problem of maternal deaths in the country? it is not the number or the presence of these community health workers but the level of training and skills as well as competencies in managing maternity patients. we cant run away from the WHO recommendation, that the only way to reduce maternal and child deaths is by putting in place midwife or some one with midwifery skills to Man the PHC facility.