From 2007 to 2011 representatives from Nigeria’s Federal Government attended the SHN course. Dada Jide Joseph from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education who attended the course in 2007 and advocated lessons taught to Federal Government policy makers which impacted on strengthening SHN delivery at Federal level.

Strengthening ministerial linkages

The course taught me that substantial progress can be made when integrated approaches are taken involving a number of sectors in various stages from planning to evaluation.

Before 2007, ministries of the Federal Government had been fairly autonomous of one another with each were carrying out their separate activities separately. School health officers had been put in place across states to build school health capacity, but there was a lack of coordination between these officers at state and federal levels. Furthermore, they didn’t always have the correct technical background for these positions.

Using lessons taught on the course I and my colleagues requested that ministers and district officers designate Ministry of Health Desk Offices in each State’s Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to bridge the gap between Education and Health Ministries.

Collaborating for Effective Deworming

These cross-sectoral linkages had a particularly significant impact on Nigeria’s deworming programme. Previously, the Ministry of Health carried out the deworming programme sporadically, without much input from the Ministry of Education and little had been monitored on worm prevalence among children. Once these new connections were made the intervention was supported by ministries of health and education and we began effective monitoring of the programme.

When I returned to Nigeria I encouraged my colleagues to attend the course, and later in 2011 the Ogun State Steering Committee on school-based deworming attended the course followed by the Ogun State Government in 2012. There is no doubt, the training opportunities provided by PCD through the conduct of SHN training courses and documentation on their website has vastly improved the capacities of coordinating programme implementers in Nigeria’s education sector.