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Aminu's voice

Aminu Magashi Garba - GFMER Coordinator for Nigeria

by Kerlène Volant

When a little boy’s dream comes true…

Aminu Magashi Garba working in a GFMER session“My dream for the future is what I am doing now”, says Aminu. Becoming a medical doctor was his childhood dream. Today, his dream has become true. Aminu is now a brilliant medical doctor and works as Evidence Advisor in a DFID (Department for International Development, UK Government) funded project in Nigeria: “Evidence for Action in Maternal and Newborn Health”. His role consists of generating evidences through research, literature review and secondary analysis of existing surveys and reports in order to use them for focused advocacy and accountability. He has continuously been trying to improve health care in Nigeria despite numerous challenges.

In 2010 Aminu successfully completed the training course on sexual and reproductive health research, which is organized each year by GFMER in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO). Based on his hard work and the quality research project that he produced during this course, he was selected to attend a workshop on research protocol development at WHO office in Geneva in 2011.

Aminu is now GFMER representative for Nigeria. He facilitates the course to Nigerian health professionals. He is convinced that “the mentoring and support to participants have catalysed the interest of many of them to pursue a research career and conduct research projects that address Sexual and Reproduction Health in Nigeria”.

In addition to his commitment in research and training, Aminu works for two Nigerian newspapers: Daily Trust and Public Health Diary. In Daily Trust he is the editor of a Question & Answer column on health issues. He answers readers’ questions on health issues in general and sexual and reproductive health in particular. In Public Health Diary he writes articles that address the needs for a strong commitment by policy makers and development partners to invest in a coherent way in health system. Through his activity with the Daily Trust Newspaper, Aminu’s has built a strong and friendly relationship with the majority of his readers, as they feel free to send him their questions especially on sexual health and sexuality without being judged, as Aminu says “After some time, people begin to relax, and see me as a friend”.

His encounter with GFMER…

The GFMER courses enabled Aminu Magashi Garba to establish a professional network within health professionals from all over the world for exchanging ideas and useful materials. GFMER’s training program also allowed him to interact with officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) and GFMER. Aminu says the GFMER training also helped him to define priority areas for research in sexual and reproductive health.

His role as GFMER coordinator for Nigeria gave him new ideas like organising face to face training for participants in Nigeria, creation of a peer review journal in Africa as a platform for participants to share and publish their ideas and scientific works through articles and other paperwork. Moreover he in actively involved in designing research projects with GFMER and WHO.

When a man seeks to make a difference…

Aminu attending the GFMER-OMPHI eclampsia workshop in Sokoto

When talking about the situation in Nigeria in terms of reproductive health, Aminu immediately evokes the issue of maternal mortality, which in his opinion tends to decrease very slowly. The increase in access to reproductive health services, especially family planning is his main concern as it contributes in reducing the maternal mortality rate in his country. Aminu highlights the need for allocating more resources for maternal and child health services by Nigerian government. “Despite significant progress in improving adolescent health and reducing maternal mortality, there is still more work to be done” is his message to decision makers and other stakeholders involved in health service planning and health services provision.

Aminu’s involvement in many projects and his experience shows his perseverance and commitment to make difference in Nigeria. Aminu thinks that “the more you build trust in the work and the more you bring professionalism, the more you can communicate with patients so they are comfortable enough to talk about their health issues”. That’s why he strongly believes that “the people of Nigeria will open up to health workers and will discuss any issue that actually affects them in their own life”.

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