Dada’s survey of 196 women aged 15-45 in the Ekiti District in Nigeria found that maternal health behaviour is inseparable from socio-economic and cultural contexts.
Employing field methods from Medical Sociology and Demography, he concluded that maternal health seeking transcends the boundaries of these disciplines and that comprehensive understanding calls for the use of both.
The model of behavioural change in public health, rational choice theory, location theory and feminist theory enabled him to highlight the links between socio-cultural variables and maternal health seeking by showing the strength of their separate and collective relationships.
The study found that patriarchy has a strong impact on maternal health seeking. Furthermore, the majority of the women participants strongly believe in the efficacy of herbs in pregnancy management and child bearing. Finally, health workers’ attitudes discourage health seeking.
Given the patriarchal nature of Nigerian society, Dada recommends ‘that men should be educated on the intricacies that revolve around maternal health because they dominate family decision-making. In addition, there is a need to strengthen policies and capacity building, and training of health care providers for improved quality of care and sustained research on reproductive health.’
Professor Sultan Khan and Dr Lubna Nadvi supervised the study.