Community Health Systems, Gender and Empowerment
Miniratu Soyoola is a social development and health professional who works with stakeholders in strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health development programmes. With an educational background in human nutrition, biological sciences and education, Miniratu provides technical support to health programmes in areas such as the design and implementation of social assessments, qualitative research, citizens voice and accountability initiatives and training, monitoring and evaluation tools. Her areas of focus include strategies for increasing access to health services, gender and equity, advocacy and behaviour change communication in the core thematic area of maternal and child health including malaria prevention and control,adolescent reproductive health, family planning and nutrition. In addition, she has worked with stakeholders across a wide range of sectors including public, civil society, media/advertising and research.
Background and relevant experience
Miniratu recently (September 2016) completed her role as the Programme Director for More Mobilising Access to Maternal Health Services (MORE MAMaZ), a programme aimed at increasing access to maternal and newborn health services among rural communities in Zambia. She provided strategic leadership, and had technical and management oversight for district teams based in five districts and a national level administrative, financial and technical team. Developed strategic partnerships with government stakeholders within the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, and the Ministry of Health also provided strategic capacity building support to the district health management teams to strengthen community health system for increasing RMNCH access. Provided technical and advisory support to district and community stakeholders for addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) and social inclusion in the MORE MAMaZ community empowerment work. Contributed to the development of a manual for training health workers in social factors that affect health and improved communication and provided lead support for rolling out the training in the five programme districts also participated in the review of the approach. Represented MORE MAMaZ at the National Safe Motherhood Technical Working Group which provides space for development partners working in this area to communicate and share lessons learned.
Previously, Miniratu was the Senior National Social Development Consultant for the DFID-fundedPartnership for Reviving Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria / Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PRRINN-MNCH) Programme. In this capacity, she provided on-going strategic and technical support for the demand-side component of the programme and was integral to the development and implementation of the Knowledge Attitudes and Practice survey to measure the impact of the programme. She provided support for the design and implementation of an initiative to promote citizens’ voice and providers’ accountability and undertook a review of the initiative to inform future programme design and assemble case study materials.
Until May 2013, Miniratu was engaged as a Social Development and Community Engagement Adviser for the Mobilising Access to Maternal Health Services, Zambia (MAMaZ) programme, the predecessor to MORE MAMaZ. In this role she conducted a demand-side assessment of barriers to accessing maternal and newborn health care in two districts; supported District Health Teams to develop demand-side implementation strategies; provided lead support for community engagement training; and provided ongoing technical and advisory support.
Previously worked in Sierra Leone for the DFID funded Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme where she provided strategic support in relation to gender and equity strategy and demand-side issues. Prior to this she worked as a National Social Development Consultant for the Partnership for Transforming Health Systems 1, Nigeria (PATHS 1) programme and more recently for PATHS 2 in Nigeria providing support for the promotion of citizens’ participation in health. She has also worked as a Programme Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Family Health Services project, and as a Senior Programme Officer for the Basics Support for Institutionalising Child Survival project and the USAID/Netmark Africa Regional Malaria programme.
Selected presentations, publications and reports
- Green, C., Soyoola, M., Surridge, M, Abdul Razak Badru, Kaluba, D., Quigley, P, Kureya, T., 2015, ‘Increasing access to rural maternal health services in Zambia through demand-side interventions’, Development in Practice, 25:4, 450-464.
- Green, C., Soyoola, M., Surridge, M., Kaluba, D., 2014, ‘A Training Approach for Community Maternal Health Volunteers That Builds Sustainable Capacity’, Development in Practice, Vol 24 (8)