In a displaced-persons camp in northern Nigeria, many Hausa women of reproductive age are at risk of developing sexually transmitted infections (STI), causing them pain, infertility, miscarriages and marital conflict.
These displaced women are not the only ones: all across the world, millions of women who have been victims of political conflict find themselves struggling with diseases that are not taken seriously but have widespread implications.
Oluwakemi (Kemi) Amodu, one of the inaugural recipients of a $75,000 AMTD Waterloo Global Talent Postdoctoral Fellowship, will be building on her doctoral work, which showed that among Hausa women displaced in the last five years in Nigeria, STI prevalence was widespread. “However, there is limited empirical knowledge to inform policymakers on strategies to intervene to address the spread of STIs among displaced persons,” Amodu says.
Her postdoctoral research will test the effectiveness of education and treatment services for STI prevention among women displaced by terrorism in Nigeria through a pilot project, and make recommendations to the federal ministry of health and other partners to develop culturally appropriate sexual and reproductive health intervention guidelines for women affected by political conflict in Nigeria.
“My findings can potentially inform health practitioners on strategies to address reproductive health issues affecting terrorist-affected women from Nigeria who now make Canada their destination country of migration,” Amodu says. “My work also aligns perfectly with the United Nations Sustainable Development’s broad goal ‘to leave no one behind’ by prioritizing issues affecting the most marginalized people.”
Her study has three phases. The first is a community engagement workshop for pre-intervention assessment, which will be organized in the camp’s central area with support from health workers. Secondly, Hausa-speaking gynecologists, nurses and community health workers will provide free diagnostic STI screening and treatment. Finally, an analysis will be conducted on participant responses that were collected at two points (baseline and 10 months’ impact assessment).
“The struggles of women I encountered in Nigeria informed my decision to explore the area of research,” says Amodu. “This work will provide knowledge for health professionals to develop culturally safe interventions and quality care to refugee women and children. It will also increase global understanding of the difficulties women experience accessing health care in the amidst of terrorist-induced displacement in northern Nigeria.”
Amodu comes from the University of Alberta, where she competed her Master of Nursing, and is a registered nurse from Nigeria. She will be working with Craig Janes, director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems, during the five-year AMTD postdoctoral fellowship.