Maternal autonomy and attitudes towards gender norms: associations with childhood immunization in Nigeria


Author(s): Singh K, Haney E, Olorunsaiye C

Year: 2012

Matern Child Health J. Online 14 June 2012.

Globally 2.5 million children under-five die from vaccine preventable diseases, and in Nigeria only 23 % of children ages 12-23 months are fully immunized. The international community is promoting gender equality as a means to improve the health and well-being of women and their children. This paper looks at whether measures of gender equality, autonomy and individual attitudes towards gender norms, are associated with a child being fully immunized in Nigeria. Data from currently married women with a child 12-23 months from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey were used to study the influence of autonomy and gender attitudes on whether or not a child is fully immunized. Multivariate logistic regression was used and several key socioeconomic variables were controlled for including wealth and education, which are considered key inputs into gender equality. Findings indicated that household decision making and attitudes towards wife beating were significantly associated with a child being fully immunized after controlling for socioeconomic variables. Ethnicity, wealth and education were also significant factors. Programmatic and policy implications indicate the potential for the promotion of gender equality as a means to improve child health. Gender equality can be seen as a means to enable women to access life-saving services for their children.