Community Challenges to Accessing Quality Care in Nigeria


Photo: Amy Cotter, USAID.

Beliefs about complications during pregnancy contribute to maternal mortality.

To understand the significant challenges in Nigeria faced by pregnant women and their families, researchers interviewed pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (PE/E) survivors, their families, and community stakeholders. Findings show that signs and symptoms of PE/E are more often attributed to malaria, exposure to cold weather, excessive liquid intake, and religious experiences than with PE/E. These misconceptions and mistrust between communities and health providers negatively influence care-seeking behaviors.

Study results show that:

  • Many men and women believe that high blood pressure is caused by evil spirits (demons, witches, ancestors, etc.), an unbalanced diet, or strenuous activities;
  • When experiencing symptoms, women do not actively seek health services because of their fear of death, a lack of facilities or qualified providers, and disrespectful providers; and
  • Most people prefer traditional healers, prayer, herbs, and incisions over a visit to a health facility.
  • Country: Nigeria