Cultural Environment, Health Seeking Behaviour and Survival Chances of under five Children in South East Nigeria

  • E Augustine Ugwueje


The paper examines the Mother’s Health-seeking Behaviour and Childhood Mortality in South East Nigeria. The data for this study are partly based on the 2008 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), a nationally representative survey covering all six health zones or regions of the country (with particular interest on data from South East Nigeria); and qualitative data collected from Abia State in South East Nigeria. It was found that neonatal, infant, and child mortality rate is the highest among children of mothers aged less than 20 years. The result reveals that the education of mother has significant effect on her health-seeking behavior including attendance to antenatal and postnatal care clinics, choice of place of delivery, time and route of response to child illness and immunization. Mother’s education increases the chances of survival of neonatal, infant and child. The result further revealed that both neonatal and post neonatal mortality was reduced by about 14 percent due to the use of Antenatal Clinic (ANC). Again, among children of mothers with secondary education and above, the mortality advantage continued into the post-neonatal period. The study concludes that the socio-cultural perception of disease, illness and death of children by parents in the study areas often run counter to the biomedical definitions. Mothers perceiving child diseases as caused by human agents (witchcraft activities), ancestral spirits, and breach of taboos than by infection, have their response routes affected and this leads to high mortality. The paper suggests that for the improvement of the health conditions of children in Nigeria, it is necessary to improve the educational status of mothers including health education to reduce ignorance and increase access to health care services.

International Journal of Development and Management Review (INJODEMAR) Vol. 7 June, 2012

Author Biography

E Augustine Ugwueje
Department of Sociology, Abia State University, Uturu

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2734-3316
print ISSN: 1597-9482