Mother-father concordance on treatment choices in the care of sick children under five years of age in Osun State, Nigeria

A. A.E. Olaogun, W. R. Brieger, A. B. Ayoola, P. O. Obianjuwa, S. O. Adebayo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Communication and agreement between spouses has been found to be an important factor in terms of acceptance and use of family planning services and supplies. Therefore, it is likely that agreement between spouses may play an important role in other aspects of family health, including care of childhood illness. This study, based in a rural and an urban community in Osun State, Nigeria, set out to determine the agreement between mothers and fathers on the illness experience and care provided to their preschool age children. Among the 550 couples studied, most mothers (98%) and fathers (94%) reported that they "did something" to help during their child's recent illness. The illness was recognized, first by the mothers according to 83% of respondents. Overall, 81% of couples concurred that the mother was the first to discover the illness. Concurrence was greater in urban areas and where fathers read a newspaper frequently. Only 45% concurred on who took, the decision, for first action to address the illness, which again was greater in the urban, area and in families where the father read a newspaper frequently. Parents also were not in full agreement about the name of the child's illness, but concurrence was greater in the case of malaria/fever. Finally, concurrence on the actual first form of treatment care reached only 36%. Most concurrent couples and non-concurrent mothers mentioned drug shops/chemists as the first source of care, while non-concurrent fathers placed government clinics first While mothers are likely to be the main caregivers, fathers do have decision, making and financial roles. Not only should health education for appropriate and prompt care of child illnesses be aimed equally are both parents, it should also recognize that fathers may have different perceptions from mothers. Education should also encourage better couple communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalInternational quarterly of community health education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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