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Health Partners Plans’ Employees Address SDoH in Nigeria

Pennsylvania Managed Care Organization Supports Maternal Child Health Group in Lagos

Philadelphia, PA –Sometimes it takes a village to help vulnerable people thrive, and sometimes that village spans continents when people share a common mission, which explains how insurance company employees in Pennsylvania have partnered with a healthcare advocate in Nigeria to improve the health outcomes for mothers and infants in this African nation.

Sharing a common goal of reducing barriers to healthcare, employees at Health Partners Plans (HPP), an innovative managed care organization known for addressing food insecurity, have connected with Anike Lawal, founder and executive director of Mamalette, an organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in Nigeria, a country with the fourth and eighth highest mortality rates respectively. Ms. Lawal founded Mamalette in 2013 after the birth of her first child when she realized the need for pregnant women and new mothers to connect as a community and share valuable information.

Mamalette trains experienced mothers, who live in poor urban communities, to work as “health champions” by fostering peer support and sharing lifesaving maternal and infant health information via social media and group meetings. So far, Mamalette has trained 70 women who are working in three Nigerian cities to improve access to healthcare facilities for pregnant women and newborns.

HPP, which is committed to improving the health outcomes of its members in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is supporting Mamalette, through its participation in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The fellowship offers young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa an opportunity to hone their skills during a six-week leadership institute at a participating U.S. college or university. Other program components include attending a networking summit in Washington, D.C, and then participating in a four-week professional development experience at an American company, organization or government agency that relates to their professional goals.

Last year Ms. Lawal completed her Professional Development Experience at HPP. Her goal was to learn how to build a world-class health insurance company to improve the health and wellbeing of children and pregnant women in Nigeria – where maternal and infant mortality rates are driven by a lack of reliable health information, especially on pregnancy and infant care, as well as poor access to health facilities.

Ms. Lawal inspired her mentors at HPP who were impressed with her dedication and creative approach to solving a national health crisis in her country. Two employees in particular, Kearline Jones, vice president GRC and compliance officer, and Tierra Pritchett, director, legislative and regulatory affairs, were motivated to support Ms. Lawal and Mamalette, so they applied for a grant and were two of 102 selected nationwide in 2019 to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange program. This program enables professionals who have hosted fellows for a professional development experience to work with the fellows in their home countries on such critical issues as promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity.

Ms. Jones and Ms. Pritchett will visit Nigeria August 6 – 18 and will give presentations on managed care, network development, best practices with providers and breastfeeding awareness. HPP is contributing $3,000 to Mamalette while Health Partners Foundation is donating 500 onesies (body suits for babies.) In addition, employees company-wide are collecting goods for mothers and infants who live in impoverished areas.

“Participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship program by hosting fellows for their professional development experience here at HPP and now by continuing that collaboration with a fellow in Nigeria is an incredible opportunity to work with people in another country that is struggling with infant mortality,” said Denise Croce, president and CEO of HPP. “This is also a unique opportunity for HPP to help another country striving for quality healthcare.”


Health Partners Plans is a not-for-profit managed care organization, renowned for addressing food insecurity through its groundbreaking medically tailored meals program. It is the only Medicaid plan in Pennsylvania and is among just 8 Medicaid plans nationwide with an accreditation status of Excellent as of September 12, 2018. This is the highest status bestowed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA.) Health Partners Plans serves more than 261,000 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It provides a broad range of health coverage options through its Health Partners Medicare, Health Partners (Medicaid) and KidzPartners (Children’s Health Insurance Program) plans. Founded more than 30 years ago, Health Partners Plans is one of the few hospital-owned health plans in the country. Learn more about how Health Partners Plans is doing it right at, and

Monet T. Irving 
Director, Corporate Communications