The people of Nigeria face many different social determinants that impact their health. One specific social determinant that is the most impactful in my opinion is Gender Inequality. Women face gender inequality in the many aspects of their lives, leaving them with horrible outcomes. Women are more likely to be to be poor, uneducated, and without political power than men, due to discrimination right from childhood (WHO, 2005). This gender inequality correlates directly with the high rates of maternal mortality in Nigeria.
Being a female in Nigeria means that you are not granted the same rights as men, leading to a lesser chance of receiving any health care at all. In order to receive health care in Nigeria it comes at a high cost. Hospitals are mainly private because public hospitals do not have enough healthcare providers who are willing to work for such little money. Most women cannot afford to seek treatment at private hospitals and are forced to stay home for events such as giving birth. This unfortunate situation leads many women to face other health issues that come about while giving birth in an insanitary environment. For example, 1,500 per 100,000 women face maternal mortality (WHO, 2005).
Women in Nigeria are 56% literate compared to 72% of men that are literate; illiteracy is directly related to poverty, malnutrition, ill health and child infant mortality (WHO, 2005). The fact that women are much less educated than men in Nigeria leads them to a disadvantage when it comes to opportunity. Women are not given the opportunity to become educated or further extend the education they may already have. If women were more educated they would be more aware of disease and how to prevent it. Its shocking to me that the probability of death, among children born to illiterate mothers, is two times higher than those born to literate mothers (WHO, 2005).
Women are also viewed as sexual objects in Nigeria, often leading them to lack control over their sexual activities leading them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS (WHO, 2005). Currently 1,700 thousand women in Nigeria are living with HIV (UNICEF, 2012). HIV can be directly related to the sexual violence that women in Nigeria are facing today. The patriarchal ideology in Nigeria has much to do with this health concern. Women all over Nigeria face acts of sexual violence as a normal part of life. Most of these men committing these crimes go unchallenged, unreported, and unpunished owing to several factors, which include culture, popular beliefs, ignorance, and statutory constraints (Izugbara, 2004).
As you can see gender inequality in Nigeria is a main social detriment, leading to many health care problems regarding women’s health. Women face a disadvantage when it comes to income, education, and political power. A patriarchal country like Nigeria may be expected to face such problems but that doesn’t make them okay. Action needs to be taken against the discrimination that women face so that they can better take care of themselves. Healthcare in Nigeria must be revised for the women that are suffering.
UNICEF. “Statistics.” UNICEF. 2012. Accessed August 12, 2016. http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/nigeria_statistics.html.
Izugbara, Otutubikey. “Patriarchal Ideology and Discourses of Sexuality in Nigeria.” Africa Regional. December 2, 2004. Accessed August 12, 2016. http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/46200794/izugbara.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1471037631&Signature=/5SkDJd9G92daC0y5QkrqMrCros=&response-content-disposition=inline; filename=Patriarchal_Ideology_and_Discourses_of_S.pdf.
WHO. “Social Determinants of Health-Nigerian Perspective.” World Health Organization. July 2005. Accessed August 12, 2016. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/country_action/NIGERIA Dr ADETUNJI Labiran.pdf.