In January 2016, a team led by Dr Garba M. Ashir of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital received a grant for new research to understand the demand-side barriers which prevent mothers with young children from accessing nutritional services. The grant was awarded by Operations Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE), a DFID-funded consortium of UK and Nigerian organisations.
The project will generate valuable research findings on the low utilisation of nutrition services. The Maiduguri team will use a mixed methods study to explore the demand-side barriers to service utilisation and propose ways to improve two nutrition interventions introduced by the Nigerian government in recent years to tackle high levels of malnutrition in the country – maternal, newborn and child health weeks (MNCHW) campaign and counselling to improve infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF) – in ways which can increase uptake. The study will be undertaken in Yobe state, but will generate findings that can be used across similar settings in the Northern states.