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An Investigation into the Socio-Cultural Influences on Adolescent Maternal Healthcare Utilisation in Nigeria

Christiana A. Alex-Ojei, University of the Witwatersrand
Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand
Lorretta Favour C. Ntoimo, Federal University Oye-Ekiti

Adolescent maternal healthcare utilisation has been observed to be low in Nigeria, and little is understood about the sociocultural factors which have contributed to low levels of utilisation among the youngest mothers. This study investigated the sociocultural factors which influence adolescent mothers’ use and non-use of maternal healthcare as well as their choice of healthcare provider. The study used a qualitative method, collecting data via interviews from fifty-five adolescent mothers, nineteen mothers, six health workers and five community leaders from the West, East and Northern parts of Nigeria. Findings showed that social and financial support from mothers and partners, as well as cultural healthcare preferences were the major deciders of whether or not adolescent mothers were able to use healthcare, and the choice of their healthcare providers. Thus, interventions to increase adolescent maternal healthcare utilisation must focus on ensuring social support for adolescent mothers as well as be culturally sensitive.

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  Presented in Session 56. Innovative Applications of Qualitative Methods in Population Research