Assessment of Residential Overcrowding and Associated Health Risk on the Girl-Child in Low-Income Communities in Oyo State, Nigeria

Patricia A Taiwo, Adio-Moses Ruth Ochanya, Taiwo Y M





The consequences of residential overcrowding on children in developing countries have attracted scholarly attentions with dearth of information on its health implications on the girl-child from large family sizes particularly among selected low-income communities in Akinyele local government area, Oyo state. This study adopted a descriptive and cross-sectional survey design using the epidemiological transition theory as framework for explanation. A structured questionnaire was administered on 450 purposively selected parents with large family sizes, while 9 in-depth interviews and 3 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with parents and mothers respectively from 3 communities in the study area. Quantitative data were analyzed at the univariate and bivariate levels and presented using descriptive statistics of frequencies, percentages, and inferential statistics of chi-square, while qualitative data were content analyzed. Majority (86.3%) were females, 93.7% were married while only 16.1% had tertiary education. About 70.0% of the respondents had more than 4 children and earned 40,000 and less monthly. Nearly half (49.3%) of the respondents resided in one room self-contain apartment with their children. A significant association existed between gender of children and risk of communicable diseases (X2=212.7, P=0.002). More female children experienced measles (55.7%) and always had cough (65.0%), than their male counterparts who experienced measles (45.4%) and always had cough (32.0%). The girl-child experienced sexual abuse, shame and inconvenience in maintaining personal hygiene because of other roommates of the opposite sex. There is need to educate and enlighten parents on the general implication of large family size, and specific health risk of overcrowding on the girl-child and she should be equipped with risk reduction skills as a coping mechanism. Government should also provide adequate housing for low-income and large families.

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