An in-Depth Exploration of Community Perspectives and Responses to Major Childhood Killer Diseases in Nigeria

Sunday Adedini, University of the Witwatersrand
Oluwatoyin Alaba, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Nigeria is ranked the second largest contributor to global statistics on childhood death, with two-thirds of children dying from four preventable/curable diseases—pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and meningitis (PDMM), despite the available preventive/curative healthcare measures. Using qualitative methodology, this study explored the perspectives of community members/caregivers about PDMM and their responses to these childhood conditions. Data came from sixty in-depth interviews and twenty-four focus group discussions conducted in August 2017 with respondents (n=259) drawn from among the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Data were organized using Atlas.ti, and analysis was conducted using thematic approach. Results demonstrated considerable misconceptions about the causes of pneumonia and meningitis, with many attributing these diseases to sin or act of gods. There was also ostensible disconnection between knowledge and practice. In order to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality in Nigeria, caregivers’ poor knowledge and practices on the prevention/treatment of PDMM calls for urgent attention/interventions.

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  Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1