Professor Lesley Smith (Project lead), a specialist in Women's Public Health and Dr Franklin Onukwugha at the University of Hull’s Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research have been working closely with Dr Ahmed Sarki of Aga Khan University and the team at FAYOHI (Family and Youth Health Initiative) in Northern Nigeria since 2018.
The research team developed relationships with stakeholders representing a wide range of perspectives from adolescents to policymakers, with the aim of working with them to identify problems and co-create solutions. Initial research included a needs assessment with key stakeholders including the Jigawa State Ministries of Health and Education, teachers and pupils, community-based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). An advisory board was established by the research team including representatives of each stakeholder group, UNICEF staff, the Jigawa State Commissioner for Health, Permanent Secretary Jigawa State Ministry of Education and academics from Bayero University in Kano.
A research symposium was organised in Kano, Northern Nigeria in April 2019 to engage and enable stakeholders to provide their perspectives on adolescent health. An analysis was carried out using the national data to determine the prevalence and predictors of pregnancy termination of 15-24-year-old women in Nigeria. It showed the overall proportion of and regional variations in women self-reporting termination.
Following the symposium a pilot survey was undertaken in Jigawa and Kano to investigate adolescent health issues. The project was conceived as a pilot study with the original intention to gather data on a broad area of health in two schools in Jigawa state. However, following the Kano symposium, the study was widened to also include two schools in the Kano region.
John Young and Andy Nobes from the International Network to Advance Science and Policy (INASP) joined the project in 2020 to support further policy engagement activities to take forward the research findings. The intention was to develop and test a culturally sensitive health, sustainable and replicable literacy/health promotion intervention for adolescents in Jigawa and Kano States, that could be scaled-up to other states within Northern Nigeria.