Poor maternal and child health care utilization in Nigeria: Does partnersâ€™ age difference matter?
Poor maternity care uptake (MCU) persists in Nigeria. Evidence shows that this is partly responsible for the countryâ€™s high maternal mortality ratio of 560 deaths per 100,000 live births and under-five mortality rate of 128 deaths per 1,000 live births. Also, wide gap in partners' age difference (PAD) coupled with lack of control over own health and that of their children persist among women in patriarchal societies, especially Nigeria. Given this situation, this study examined the influence of PAD on MCU in Nigeria. Binary logistic regression analysis was performed on 7023 couples in 2013
Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey data. Results indicated significantly lower odds of utilizing maternal and child health care [i.e. antenatal care (ANC), skilled delivery (SD) and postnatal care (PNC)] among women that were far younger than their partners, relative to much older women. For instance, PAD of 10 years or higher was significantly associated with lower odds of utilizing ANC [Odds ratio (OR):0.75, Confidence Interval (CI):0.60-0.92,p<0.001]; SD [OR:0.58,CI:0.46-0.74,p<0.01], and PNC [OR:0.48,CI:0.38-0.60,p<0.001] compared to women who reported same orolder age than their partners. These findings suggest the need for enhancement of women status and gender equality through dissuasion against the scenario of large PAD among couples in Nigeria.