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Impact of maternal literacy on malnutrition in children (0-5yrs) in isele-uku, Aniocha-North LGA. Delta state


This study was on Impact of maternal literacy on malnutrition in children (0-5yrs) in isele-uku,Aniocha-North LGA. Delta state. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected health centers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made doctors, nurses, lab technicians and junior staffs were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.

Chapter one


1.1Background of the study

Malnutrition is a pathological state resulting from inadequate nutrition. It is broadly classified as undernutrition, as a result of insufficient intake of energy and other nutrients, and over nutrition due to excessive consumption of energy and other nutrients. (UNICEF,1998). While nearly 12 million children under five die each year in developing countries mainly from preventable causes, the death of over 6 million (55%), are either directly or factors is the maternal literacy level. While a mother is a provider of primary care that the child needs during the first 6 years of its life, the type of care she provides depends to a large extent on her knowledge and understanding of some aspect of basic nutrition and healthcare. (Asindi AA, Ibia EO, Udo JJ,2010) Furthermore, it has been documented that children born of educated mothers have lower mortality risk because educated mothers tend to delay and have their child at a later age than uneducated women. In addition, they are more likely to be assertive and to play greater role in intrafamily decision making in favor of their children’s need. In addition their husbands tend to be more economically better off, than husbands of uneducated women. ( Chen LC; Bhuiya A,2008) While educated women have earlier and more effective use of health service, evidence has been documented that maternal education is an important determinant of infant and child mortality.(UN 2011). More still, the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) in 2008 revealed a strong relationship between maternal literacy and nutritional status of the children surveyed. It was reported that, while literacy levels have continued to increase, the urban areas have fared better relative to rural areas. ( Population Census,2008) Similarly, a report of the mid-point assessment of the attainment of the MDG’s further revealed that female literacy lag behind males and more severely in primary school completion rate, mainly due to gender inequality among other reasons.( Mid-point assessment of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria 2000-2007.) On the other hand, growth assessment is the single measurement that best describes the health and nutritional status of children; because disturbances in health and nutrition, regardless of their etiology, invariably affect child growth. Consequently, it is based on combination of these body measurements that anthropometric indices are constructed. Children whose weight-for-age (W/A), children whose Height-forage (H/A) and children whose weight-for-height (W/H) is below -2 standard deviations from the median of the reference population are considered to be underweight, stunted, and wasted, respectively.

in directly attributable to malnutrition; mainly under nutrition. (Young H,1998). In Nigeria, malnutrition has, been reported to be associated with increased morbidity and mortality, such that 30–40% of death in the preschool age group are associated with malnutrition. ( Asindi AA, Ibia EO, Udo JJ,2008).The major causes of childhood mortality in Nigeria include malaria (30%), vaccine preventable diseases (22%), diarrhea (19%), acute respiratory tract infections (16%), etc., with malnutrition underlying about 60% of these childhood deaths.( FMOH. National Child health policy. Nigeria,2008). Therefore, assessing the factors attributing to this malnutrition is central to reducing and preventing these high morbidities and mortalities


Maternal Nutrition Knowledge is a key focus among health care practitioners. Nutrition and health programme although previous studies show that this information was limited. The dietary diversity was low among children particularly with regard to low intake of animal protein source foods which are essential for their growth, development and maintenance. Most mothers were unable to name any Vitamin A rich natural or fortified food sources essential for disease prevention and strengthening of immunity of children. The low nutritional knowledge of mothers is capable of leading to poor nutritional status of their children, translating into low achievement of the programme objectives, that of curbing declining child survival and poor nutritional status of the children.

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study;

  1. To determine the nutritional knowledge of mothers.
  2. To determine the nutritional status of the children 0-5 years.
  3. To determine the morbidity of children 0-5 years
  4. To establish the socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the households.

Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there is no nutritional knowledge of mothers.

H1: there is nutritional knowledge of mothers.

H02: there is no nutritional status of the children 0-5 years.

H2: there is nutritional status of the children 0-5 years.

Significance of the study

To contribute to the nutrition knowledge of mothers through enhancing nutrition education under various health  programme by sensitization and mobilization. The purpose of the study was to assess nutritional knowledge and nutritional status of children 0-5 years under the programme. The results of the study would be useful in programme planning strategies, assessment and evaluation to achieve their objectives and to enhance mothers’ nutrition knowledge, improve perception on the importance of immunization and antenatal services. Mothers would better utilise the health facilities that offer routine child survival services, leading to good nutrition of the children, reduce child morbidity and mortality. Vitamin A Supplementation is a very essential child survival service for child growth and protection from frequent infections if received after every six months up to five years of age.

Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers impact of maternal literacy on malnutrition in children (0-5yrs) in isele-uku, Aniocha-North LGA. Delta state.  The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study

Definition of terms

Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet in which one or more nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. It may involve calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins or minerals.

Maternity literacy: mother is a provider of primary care that the child needs during the first 6 years of its life, the type of care she provides depends to a large extent on her knowledge and understanding of some aspect of basic nutrition and healthcare


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