Effect of maternal health programme on rural women agricultural activities in Owerri Agricultural Zone of Imo State, Nigeria
The study analyzed the effects of maternal health programme on rural women agricultural activities in Owerri agricultural zone of Imo state, Nigeria. Specifically, the study described the socio-economic characteristic of rural women; identified the various agricultural activities rural women are involved-in; ascertained the perceived effect of maternal health programme on agricultural activities and identified the barriers of women in participating in maternal health programme in the area. Multistage sampling procedure was used in the selection of 120 women. Data was collected with structured questionnaire and analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistical tools. Mean age was 37 years. Majority (92.50%) of the women were married with an average household size of 5 persons. Also, majority (75%) had primary education while a greater proportion (92.50%) were members of social organizations. Average farming experience and farm income were 17 years and ₦47,853 respectively. Majority (82.50%) had access to maternal and health care services. Planting (96.67%), transplanting (83.33%) and weeding (79.17%) were identified as the major agricultural activities they were involved-in. Result also showed that there were positive and significant effects of maternal health care programme on women agricultural activities in the area. There were significant increase in farm produce (mean = 3.90) and women involvement in agricultural activities (mean = 3.63) among other positive effects in the area. Estimated regression result showed that the socio-economic characteristic of the women influence their perceived effectiveness of maternal health programme in the area. The F-ratio was (6.591), indicating the overall significant of the regressor at 1% level of probability. The maternal health care programme has been invaluable to women in the area as well as enhancing their engagement in agricultural and entrepreneurship activities in the area. However, exorbitant charges (99.17%) and long distance between house and health care centre (95.83%) were barriers to participating in maternal health programmes. It was therefore recommended that high fees should be reduced and health centres be established closer to the women community as these would increase their access to maternal health programme and engagement in agricultural entrepreneurship activities in the area.
Keywords: Maternal Health Programme, Rural women, Agricultural activities