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Does where mothers live matter? Regional variations in factors influencing place of child delivery in Nigeria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2020

Tunde A. Alabi
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Nigeria Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Sonnen Atinge
Taraba State Health Services Management Board, Jalingo, Nigeria
Chibuike Ejim
Faith City Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
Samuel O. Adejoh
Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Nigeria
E-mail address:


Utilization of health care facilities for child delivery is associated with improved maternal and neonatal outcomes, but less than half of mothers use these for child delivery in Nigeria. This study investigated the factors associated with facility delivery in Nigeria, and their variation between the Northern and Southern parts of the country – two regions with distinct socio-cultural make-ups. The study included 33,924 mothers aged 15–49 who had given birth in the last 5 years preceding the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. Overall, higher age, being educated, being a Christian, being an urban resident, being exposed to mass media, making joint decisions with partner on health care, beginning antenatal visits in the first trimester and attending antenatal clinics frequently were found to be associated with improved use of a health care facility for child delivery. An average mother in Northern Nigeria had a 38% chance of having a facility-based delivery, whereas the likelihood in the South was 76%. When other factors were adjusted for, age and listening to the radio were significant predictors of facility-based delivery in the South but not in the North. In the North, Christians were more likely than Muslims to have a facility-based delivery, but the reverse was true in the South. Rural women in the South had a 16% greater chance of having a facility-based delivery than urban women in the North. The study results suggest that there is inequality in access to health care facilities in Nigeria, and the differences in the socio-cultural make-up of the two regions suggest that uniform intervention programmes may not yield similar results across the regions. The findings give credence to, and expand on, the Cosmopolitan-Success and Conservative-Failure Hypothesis.

Research Article
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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