Exploring the Social and Environmental Determinants of Child Health in Ilorin, Nigeria

  • AR Usman
  • AS Raheem
  • BT Segun-Agboola


Death of children under the age of five years is a major challenge to health profile in Africa and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Sub-Saharan Africa has been shown to have performed
poorly in the effort to realize the goals due partly to the soaring infant and childhood mortality. This study examines the factors-social and environmental- that affect child health in the Sub-Saharan Africa using the
example of Ilorin in Nigeria. The study adopts a multi-stage sampling procedure to select 300 nursing mothers from the twenty wards of Ilorin metropolis while structured questionnaires was used to obtain information on the socio-economic characteristics of mothers as well as the residential quality in their households. Thus, ten variables were selected; covering residential quality, socio-economic status, access to health care and health
care options mothers often adopt when illness occur in their children. These variables were expected to offer varying degrees of explanation to the observed pattern of child health in Ilorin metropolis. The surrogate
adopted for child health in the study was occurrence of childhood diarrhea during the six weeks preceding the survey. A multiple regression analysis was used to determine the relative contributions of the selected variables
to the observed pattern of child health. The result shows that the variables in the residential quality domain offer the highest explanation for the occurrence of childhood diarrhea while all other variables also possessed
positive relationships. This finding corroborates earlier studies and draws implications for public health in cities of Africa. It particularly advocates for a deliberate intervention by urban administrators in the urban renewal processes that are ongoing in the inner parts of the traditional African cities with a view to providing basic home and environmental services in the old houses in these areas that are being renovated. The study  believes that the MDGs are achievable if micro-level interventions were given priority over and above the macro- scale solutions that may fall short of local realities.

Keywords: Under-five mortality, diarrhea, residential quality, MDGs, child health, Nigeria


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1998-0507