AN APPRAISAL OF ILLITERATE MOTHERS PERCEPTION ON BIRTH CONTROL
(A CASE STUDY OF ONITSHA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Oxford dictionary defines birth control as the reduction of population to a manageable level and rate for the world, country, state, and even for a family. It could equally be said or defined to be a method that a married couple adopts in order to regulate the number of child bearing. This implies that couples should understand the importance of having only as many children as they can be able to care for.
But in Nigeria this concept of birth control is greatly neglected. Most people do not even understand the meaning of the concept (Birth control) and that is why Nigeria in facing the threat of over population now. Nsugbe is a town in Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State. Most mother in Nsugbe especially the illiterates ones are also ignorant of the fact that birth control does not mean that one should stop producing children but that one should plan to control the birth naturally and artificially in order to produce only as many children as one can care for.
This town was among the first towns that accommodated and welcomed the missionaries and they have great belief toward the church of God. Some of them are active Christians and obey the word of God. Because of this they will tell you that birth control involves disobedience to the command of God to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Genesis chapter 1 verse 28) and that if God send them children, he will always provide for them.
Today however, the economic realities of modern living have dampened the biblical injunction of increase and multiply. In most parts of the world today, there is an established link between population and means of sustaining it and that is why the Imo State Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Bridget Nwankwo had in Owerri on 24th April 1985, expressed concern over the increasing birth rate in the country as being very alarming and stated that if birth rate is not checked, the nation would experience a new wave of population explosion along with all the educational and social ills that go with it. It is almost a universal rule that parent have a primary duty to maintain their children. In the great majority of cases, the care and upbringing of a child belongs to its biological parents automatically without regard to their qualification or suitability but in (Nsugbe) most children are being denied of adequate education, food, clothing and shelter because the parents produced so many children that they cannot provide all – these – things for them. As a result they find it extremely difficult to train their children adequately.
Sometimes, the head of the family (father) dies of hypertension due to worry and too much thinking about the family.
Glass (1972) argues that Nigeria is one of the ten countries included in a major international study of population problem. The draft report has been prepared by population report international and the population of Nigeria is estimated at 160 million, no problem needs more urgent solution than how to control population growth. It demands the attention of all nations east and west, large and small, developed and developing world which Nigeria is one, population growth consumes much of their economy, condemning people to continuing poverty. One can easily see that too rapid population growth hinder a nation’s ability to progress and to satisfy the growing demands of its people for a better life. Also over population could also be that some men still believe that the number of children in the family indicates manliness and wealth with the result that in some monogamous families one can find up to ten children born by one woman in order to minimize these problems, there is the need for birth control, too much children in the home may also result for the search of a male child in the home.
1.2 PURPOSE OF STUDY
Much has been said and heard about birth control how it could be applied and how people feel about it. Some feel it is a sin to adopt birth control. While some who are very rich feel that they can take up the responsibilities of any number of children they have.
This research therefore attempts to: –
i. Determine the birth control measures practice by the illiterate mothers.
ii. Factors that contribute to their not utilizing some birth control measures.
iii. Effects of their non compliance
iv. Determine how they can be helped to change their attitude to birth control.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nsugbe under Onitsha North L.G.A, people seem not to consider the consequences of having large family and these has resulted to the problem of children not finishing their primary and secondary education due to the lack of responsibilities by the parents and financial instability. This has been attributed to the bearing of large number of children in the family.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Is it true that illiterate women at Onitsha North do not practice birth control?
2. Does birth control has any effect on illiterate mothers in Onitsha North (Nsugbe)?
3. Does ignorant to birth control lead to the increase in population of a country?
4. Is it necessary for illiterate mothers to start practicing birth control?
1.5 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
This study was undertaken by the researcher to know the attitude of illiterate mothers at Onitsha North L.G.A and to make them know the consequence and implication for not accepting birth control which will lead to over population of the country as a result of not practicing birth control, also it will lead to economic meltdown and how standard of living of the family and also the country.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State.