A Time of Uncertainty and Opportunity: Findings from a Formative Assessment of First-Time Parents in Cross River State, Nigeria

Over the past five years, E2A has been working to understand and respond to the needs of First-Time Parents (FTP), defined as young women, under the age of 25 years who are pregnant with or have one child, and their male partners. Through an on-going safe motherhood initiative – Saving Mothers Giving Life (SMGL)– in Cross River State (CRS), Nigeria, E2A has had an opportunity to implement an intervention package that addresses the continuum of health needs and outcomes that arise during the FTP lifestage and generates much-needed evidence on effective programming for FTPs. As a first step, E2A conducted a qualitative formative assessment to understand more about these young FTPs, their specific reproductive health (RH) and maternal and newborn child health (MNCH) needs, and the underlying gender and social norms that influence their ability to take timely AYRH action. The assessment, conducted in 2017, yielded important insights drawn from the experiences shared by young First-Time Mothers (FTMs) and the critical influencers in their lives – their partners and their own mothers. This brief presents key findings on the situation of FTPs in CRS, Nigeria, as well as the emerging considerations for programs that are interested in reaching this critical population.