47% of South South women face domestic violence in Nigeria – 2018 NDHS report

By Dan Etokidem

A total of 47 percent of married women in the South South geopolitical zone witness one form of domestic abuse or the other in their marital home. This was one of the key findings revealed at the presentation of the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report by the National Population Commission (NPC) in Uyo on Wednesday.

The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2018 NDHS) report was implemented by the National Population Commission (NPC) in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) of the Federal Ministry of Health. Nationally, the report states that 31% of women have ever experienced physical violence since age 15. Jigawa state witnessed the lowest rate of physical violence (4%) with Taraba topping the list with 68%.

The report states that the most common perpetrator of physical violence against ever-married women is a current husband/partner with 58% while among never married women, the most common perpetrator is the mother/stepmother with 35%.

The findings revealed that one-third (36%) of ever-married women have experienced spousal violence, whether physical, sexual, or emotional by their current or most recent husband or partner. By state, the report notes, spousal violence ranges from a low of 13% in Jigawa to a high of 75% in Kogi while spousal violence is 49% higher among women who are divorced, separated, widowed than 35% among married women.

Declaring the workshop open, Governor Udom Emmanuel, represented by the
Executive Director, Agricultural Investment Directorate of Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, AKICORP, Dr Bassey Umoenoh, commended the NPC for their statutory role in providing data especially on population and health surveys in Nigeria, stating that no society plans or executes polices that reflect the defining layers of the Social Contract without a reliable data.

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“To help deepen your knowledge and expand the frontiers of your operations and deliverables, it is imperative that regular workshops and trainings are conducted, which informed the need for this particular workshop”, he declared.

According to the Governor, healthcare is a critical component of his adminstration, which is why the state government have invested huge resources in renovating and remodelling primary as well as secondary medical facilities and equipping them with modern medical equipment. “Some of the hospitals we have remodelled are fully computerized and the standards are comparable with any such hospital anywhere in the world”, he stated.

He noted with delight that almost all the areas the workshop will cover and where public enlightenment exercises are needed are massively covered by his wife, Her Excellency, Deaconesses Martha Udom Emmanuel’s Pet Project – Family Empowerment & Youth Reorientation Path Initiative (FEYReP), “family planning, nutritional needs, HIV/AIDS, sexual education, breast-feeding practices, personal hygiene, blood pressure and blood sugar level management methods, rape, the development of the girl child – all these and more are areas that have been adequately tackled”, he noted.

In his welcome address, the Federal Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom in the National Population Commission, Engr Benedict Ukpong said new, innovative approaches were used in the conduct of the 2018 NDHS. The anthropometry process, he said was improved to collect high quality height and weight measurements from children and women even as a new biomarker checklist was introduced to ensure that no important tasks were missed.

Interviewers he explained also returned to households to re-measure children for flagged cases and random re-measurement for data quality checks.


He observed that these new improved processes piloted in Nigeria, have been adopted as standard procedures in DHS surveys by other nations especially in Africa. Another innovation he said, was the inclusion of the DHS programs disability module in the 2018 NDHS which allowed the commission to collect information on disability status of Nigerians for the first time.

According to Engr Ukpong, the result of the survey shows a number of significant outcomes; few extract of the results with respect to Akwa Ibom State he stated included the fact that women in Nigeria have an average of 5.3 children. Fertility varies by state, from a low of 3.4 children per woman in Lagos to a high of 7.3 children per woman in Katsina. From the foregoing, he said, total fertility indicator for Akwa Ibom (3.6) shows a low fertility rate compared to South zone (4.0) and national average of 5.3.

“Under-5 mortality in Nigeria varied by state, ranging from 30 deaths per 1,000 live births in Ogun to 252 deaths per 1,000 live births in kebbi while Under-5 mortality in Akwa Ibom is 98 deaths per 1,000 live births and 73 deaths per 1,000 live births for the South South geopolitical zone”, he noted.

Other key findings from the report he said indicates that nearly 2 in 5 (37%) children under five in Nigeria are stunted or too short for their age. By state, stunting is lowest in Anambra (14%) and highest in Kebbi (66%). In Akwa Ibom, stunting is 20% which he noted is within south South zone average.

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The 2018 NDHS report he said, revealed that 23% of children age 6-59 months tested positive for malaria by microscopy while malaria prevalence in Akwa stood at 23% which is 8% above South South average and same percent with National average. One in five (19%) married woman have an unmet need for family planning while Unmet need for family planning is lowest in Adamawa and Anambra 10% each and highest in Cross River 35% even as Akwa Ibom unmet need for family planning is 32%, compared to South South’s 28 % and national average of 19%.

The 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, NDHS is designed to provide data for monitoring the population and health situation in Nigeria. The 2018 NDHS is the sixth Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Nigeria since 1990. The objective of the survey was to provide reliable estimates of demographic and health indicators including fertility, family planning methods, breastfeeding practices, nutritional status of women and children, maternal and child health, childhood and adult mortality, women empowerment, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, malaria, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), disability, and other adult health issues. A nationally representative sample of 41,821 women age 15-49 in 40,427 households and 13,311 men age 15-59 in one-third of the sample households were interviewed for the survey.

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