Care of motherless babies in Nigeria

Oyemade, Adefunke (1973) Care of motherless babies in Nigeria. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In the developed countries, numerous investigations over the past forty years have demonstrated that young children who are deprived of the love, attention, and continuous care of a mother or mother substitute figure can suffer adverse effects which may manifest themselves in retarded physical, mental, and social development. In Nigeria, however, little is known about the extent and problems of deprived children. The present study, a pioneer one in that country, attempts to examine the problems involved in the care of motherless babies in the Western State of Nigeria, to evaluate critically in terms of their physical, mental and social development, the efficacy of existing methods of care and, finally, to formulate recommendations for their improvement and development. The samples in the study were drawn from urban and rural communities and comprised 227 motherless babies - 110 in institutions, 30 in foster homes and 87 living with their families; in addition, in children in two control groups were examined. All were under five years old and from the some socio-economic background. The study comprised three parts, retrospective, transverse and prospective, and was preceded by a detailed survey of the institutions and foster homes with special reference to physical environment, standards of care, and quality of staff. In the retrospective study, examination of any available medical records of motherless babies in the various groups was carried out with special reference to morbidity experience. In the prospective study, the motherless babies were followed up for twelve to eighteen months and weight gain or loss and morbidity experience recorded. In the transverse study, general physical examination and certain laboratory investigations were performed on each child using standard procedures. For the psychological assessment, those under two years were given the Griffiths Baby Test, and for the two to five year olds the revised Stanford-Binet Achievement tests were administered. General information about the children and their families was collected by the use of self-devised questionnaires and by direct interviews with individuals. Community opinion surveys were also conducted in two areas, one representing an urban, the other a rural community. Married persons were interviewed in each locality and their opinion sought about the publicity of, and their own attitude to, the different methods of care. The findings indicate that motherless babies in institutions, although in a comparatively healthier environment, had the highest mortality and morbidity. It is also shown that motherless babies living with their families achieved better mental, social, and physical development than those in institutions or foster homes. However, in one institution where there were higher standards of care and supervision, the development of the motherless babies there compared favourably with those living with their families. The community opinion surveys revealed that the different methods of care were not publicised sufficiently and that the majority of those interviewed were unwilling to receive abandoned children into their own homes. Finally, the problems involved in the care of motherless babies wore analysed, and the reasons for them discussed. These included the high cost of institutional care, the shortage of suitably trained staff and the scarcity of foster homes and of suitable foster parents. Inadequacies in all three methods of care can be attributed to several causes. General and specific recommendations are suggested to improve the care of motherless babies and these will involve action central and local Government, the voluntary organisations and agencies concerned and, not least, an increased community responsibility.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: A P Curran
Keywords: Social research, Social work
Date of Award: 1973
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1973-72654
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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