Socio-Cultural Influence of Gender Roles in Women's Health Care Utilization in South-West Nigeria
Socio-cultural factors are threat to women’s health and well-being. A culture reinforces the gender role and life style of husband and wives. No matter how equipped a health facility is, it is the patronage that makes the difference to good health. People’s socio-cultural background play vital role in seeking and acceptance of health care. The consequences of these factors on the use of health facility among pregnant women is a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality and a powerful brake on the road to the achievement of MDGs as well as overall development. Maternal mortality in Nigeria is very high, with an estimated 52,900 Nigerian women dying from pregnancy-related complications out of a global total of 529,000 maternal deaths. It is not encouraging to note that 62 percent of births in Nigeria occur at home and 96 percent of women who received no ANC services delivered at home). Several factors lead to health care facility utilization and among these the less studied is the socio-cultural dimension and hence the focus of the paper. The study was carried out in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area with 260 eligible respondents, selected randomly from the eight wards in the local government. Interview approach was employed with the aid of structured questionnaire to elicit required information from the respondents and data analyzed using SPSS. The main objective of this study is to understand the influence of socio-cultural factors influencing health care utilization among women during pregnancy and child birth. The findings show that husband perception of pregnancy complications, age at marriage, who pays ante-natal bills, family type, treatment place decision are significant towards use of health care services by mothers. Paper provides recommendations for improving the use of maternal health delivery services in the study area and beyond.