SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING MATERNAL HEALTH- A STUDY OF OWUKPA COMMUNITY, OGBADIGBO L.G.A, BENUE STATE AND OBOLLO –EKE COMMUNITY, UDENU L.G.A, ENUGU STATE
For women of childbearing age, the major challenge is the risk of maternal death as a result of poor health during pregnancy and childbirth. Women face this challenge because of their reproductive biology, and in a country with one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratio the dangers are particularly pronounced especially in rural areas. Deprivations and certain social cultural factors combine to create poor health for women in developing countries and most especially in rural communities. This study explores socio-cultural factors and their implications on maternal health in rural communities in Nigeria using Owukpa community and Obollo-Eke community as study areas. The data were generated from a cross sectional survey of mothers aged 15-49years in both communities whether married or unmarried. A cluster random sampling procedure and non probability sampling were adopted to select 572 respondents for the study, out of this 560 constituted the questionnaire which was the major instrument for data collection, and 12 was based on in-depth interview guide. The result shows that most of the factors identified have serious implications for maternal health in the two communities though the degree at which the factors affect health varied. The factors include; education, poverty, nutrition, lack of basic social amenities, inadequate and inaccessible health care services, lack of family planning, low status of women, gender base violence, and paternity pattern. The study revealed that paternity pattern practised in the two communities differed, however each type holds certain health implications for women. Female circumcision was found not to be a common practice in the two communities and also rape which is a type of violence against women was found not to be common in the two communities as it is considered an abomination to rape a woman most especially the married ones. The result also shows that certain attitudes like; early marriage, delay in seeking service, sex preference and desire for many children, and sexual activities among the unmarried affect the health of women however with certain degree of variations among the two communities.