Socio-Economic and Cultural Factors in Maternal Mortality in Nigeria.
The issue of maternal mortality has been very topical due to recent focus on sustainable development and because of the fact that maternal mortality is very high in many developing countries. In Nigeria, maternal mortality is very high and one of the highest in the world. There are cultural and social factors that exacerbate the problem in Nigeria. This paper reviews the influence of poverty, lack of education, cultural food taboos and gender relations on maternal mortality in Nigeria. The review was done using existing literatures on the subject. It was found that many women are illiterates and this affects their level of knowledge and exposure and also their level of income and all these impinge on their nutritional status. This situation also affects their ability to exercise their rights as human beings. Moreover, the introduction of user charges in government hospitals made unafordable for many women and make them patronize faith clinics and traditional medical practitioners and in this way, many avoidable deaths occur. The gender relations was also found to be a very important factor in life chances and pregnancy outcomes of women and women‟s health generally. It was therefore concluded that the high maternal mortality in Nigeria is as a result of these socio cultural factors. These factors and issues should be addressed if Nigeria is truly sincere in curbing the menace of high maternal mortality.
Key words: maternal mortality, poverty, education, culture, gender and employment.