A community health volunteer treating a sick child outside her house

Battling for Child Health in Benue State, Nigeria

By the Christian Aid Nigeria team.

Since September 2016, Christian Aid Nigeria has been working in four Local Government Areas in Benue State, Nigeria to reduce child mortality and morbidity rates. 

Through our local partners Jirah Doo Foundation and Ohonyeta Care Givers, we aim to reach just under 200,000 children with lifesaving support from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea through Christian Aid trained community health volunteers.

This UK Aid match funded project has trained 902 community health volunteers to provide lifesaving treatment in the community, rather than relying on health centres that can be hard to reach, and care givers may not have the necessary funds to afford treatment.

Tackling Health in the Community

Monica and Oga Ejeh with their baby boy, Sunday

Monica and Oga Ejeh celebrating with their baby boy, Sunday

When Monica and Oga’s son Sunday was just six months old, he contracted malaria.

Tested by a Christian Aid trained community health volunteer, he was provided with free healthcare and Monica was supported to look after him. Sunday soon recovered and has subsequently received further support for severe malnutrition.

Now nearly one and a half, Sunday is a huge comfort for Monica and her husband. Their first daughter tragically died of malaria just before she was three, because Monica and Oga did not have the money to treat her. 

As Monica explains, ‘Whenever I think of the free services and medicines provided by Christian Aid, I always remember my daughter, she would have been here now’.

‘Nigeria is one of the largest contributors to infant and child mortality in Africa’, explains Nanlop Ogbureke, Christian Aid International Health Advisor.

‘Through this programme we are looking to break down the social, physical, legal and economic barriers to healthcare provision’.

Whenever I think of the free services and medicines provided by Christian Aid, I always remember my daughter, she would have been here now.

Monica Ejeh

Programme Impact to date

  • 298,528 children assessed by healthcare volunteers
  • 127,515 cases of malaria treated
  • 29,546 cases of diarrhoea treated
  • 34,950 cases of difficulty breathing with high respiratory rate treated
  • 2,623 cases referred on to health facilities


Moving forward, amplifying community voices will play a key part in the programme.  Community groups are supported to create action plans to hold local health authorities to account.

Christian Aid is working with state government in Benue to make healthcare affordable and accessible through ensuring a legal framework for state health insurance and better supervision of healthcare workers.

Advocacy efforts are also taking place at national level, calling on the central government to sustain and finance the programme, and to replicate in other parts of Nigeria. 

Find out more about this programme through our Picture Power in Nigeria initiative.