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Family as the Main Caregivers during Child Delivery in Resource-Poor Settings of Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, Wilson Akpan


This article drew from a population-based survey of 413 women to determine the proportion of births assisted by the family in resource-poor areas of Nasarawa State. “Resource-poor settings” was defined as rural communities without access to health facilities. This exploratory study utilised a two-stage cluster random sampling technique to select 413 houses where questionnaires were administered to women who had given birth in the five years preceding the study. Simple descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the study data. The analysis reveals gross inequality in access to skilled birth facilities during childbirth in Nasarawa State. Births at home were common in rural areas among women of low socio-economic status who were illiterate. In resource-poor settings (where health facilities were unavailable), the family played a substantial role in child delivery. Specifically, while doctors and nurses attended to about 90 per cent of all births in resource-rich settings (where health facilities are available), the family members took delivery of 51.5 per cent of all births in resource-poor settings. Family members or relatives delivered the majority of the births that took place at home (61.6%). The traditional birth attendants assisted only 11.5 per cent of births within resource-poor settings, compared to only two per cent within resource-rich settings. The findings emphasised that the role of the family in caregiving during childbirth is not limited to providing social capital and emotional support but they also act as key caregivers, especially in resource-poor settings.


Nigeria; resource-poor; caregivers; maternal health; childbirth

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