Cultural Practices and Infant Mortality in Cross River State, Nigeria: A Sociological Perspective

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One of the greatest challenges confronting the government in Nigeria today is the need to reduce infant and child morbidity and mortality in order to achieve the sustainable development goal 2030. Infant mortality is generally used to describe the death of infants or babies that were born alive but died before their first birthday. There is generally marked inequality in infant death between developed and developing nations but also within them. Culture has been found to influence the health of the people especially in developing countries where majority of the people are traditionally oriented and superstitious. Several cultural values, beliefs and practices have considerable influence on the health behaviour of Nigerians, which has been adopted by pregnant women, and carried over to their children resulting in infant mortality. These cultural beliefs and practices are some of the major reasons for the low patronage of antenatal health care and orthodox medicine. People have remained bound to cultural beliefs and values. People tend to view events of diseases and deaths from the cultural and supernatural perspective, thereby causing mothers to stick to traditional and cultural practices in health matters. The paper is purely theoretical and relied heavily on secondary data and relevant literature on the issue under consideration. The paper calls for adequate awareness and enlightenment especially in areas where cultural practices are very ingrained and where infant mortality is high due to these practices.

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