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Researchers recently completed a study of a new method of giving health care to women in northern Nigeria. They found women and children would use health services more often when they could see a female health worker. Northern Nigeria is a conservative, mostly Muslim, area. Dr. Sally Findley, from Columbia University Medical Center, co-wrote the study. She said it is unusual for women to work as health care providers there. Nigeria has one of the world’s highest death rates for women who are pregnant or are giving birth. And the highest rate is the country’s north. Male health workers do travel from town to town, but many women patients do not want to talk with a man about their own health care needs. Dr. Findley said the trial study in Jigawa state required that many in the community be involved. It also needed support from religious leaders, even with transportation for the workers. The program brought women into northern Nigeria as Community Health Extension Workers. After the women health workers arrived, there were five times more visits to the health center than before. Dr. Findley said the program changed the minds of the women taking part. Women could get health care anytime at the local clinic. Mothers got help from women for normal births. If a mother giving birth needed more help, she was taken to a hospital. They also gave advice on family planning. State officials in Jigawa were happy with the positive results of the study. They plan to expand the program of women community health workers.