Health-seeking behaviour of people living in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: a case study of Eastern Obolo and Ikot-Abasi

Etim Ima, Emmah (2021). Health-seeking behaviour of people living in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: a case study of Eastern Obolo and Ikot-Abasi. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The extractive industries play a significant role in the extraction of natural resources from the earth's crust, and the process of extraction has affected the biophysical environment. The environmental impacts of the adverse effects of resource extraction have been well documented with this research centred on the health-seeking behaviours of the people living in the oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria using Eastern Obolo Ikot-Abasi Local Government Areas as case studies. This thesis addresses the research gap by analysing why people behave the way they do when it comes to their health. Resource extraction is an important economic asset to many countries, and they benefit from gold mining, coal mining, oil and gas exploration and many other mineral extractions. Therefore, within the context of globalisation, interconnectedness, economic and environmental change in these resource-rich areas has instigated debates regarding the mutual benefit, and disaster trade-off has raised significant concern about the indigenous people (Goldenberg et al., 2010; Parkins and Angell, 2011) about the health and environment. Therefore, policymakers need to give attention to the host communities' health conditions to extractive industries. There is the need to be aware of people's health-seeking behaviour in the oil-producing communities; this is paramount because as extraction and exploration occur in this region, it is essential to know how these activities shape how they seek health. Thereby making more provisions available to the indigenous people to help increase the health capital.

The study adopted a mixed-method case study approach in Eastern Obolo and Ikot-Abasi. The study provided insight into the host communities' environmental state due to the adverse effects of ongoing oil spills and continuous gas flaring in the indigenous people's immediate environment living along the state's coastal region. First, it presented the effects of such activity on the physical environment - water, land and air resources. This undermines their livelihood since frequent oil spills can lead to lowered fish catches and poor harvests. The findings drew attention to the negative impacts oil exploration activities have on the people's lives in the NDR. All the participants talked about the negative impacts of oil exploration activities on their daily life and general well-being. Many were related to the ongoing environmental and health impacts as a critical factor for the regional high poverty level. The people argued that the MNOCs and their operations in the community are wholly responsible for the negative things that occur in the community from polluted water, roof corrosion, loss of livelihood, reduced income, lack of education, rights roads, various illness and many other things. The people also believe that the government and oil companies are not doing enough compared to the negative impacts. The community people showed discontentment about the oil company and federal government performances. The people believe that the development projects by oil companies such as schools and laboratories are not enough to compensate for what they have suffered. The communities are in a deplorable state as the gas flaring affects the roof of the houses in these oil communities, and for sustainable purposes, some of them will have to use asbestos that can withstand the acid, which occurs as one of the effects of the gas flaring. The use of asbestos as a house roofing has various health implications with the potential risk of developing cancer. The impoverished state of the communities helps to undermine health and reduce the people's life expectancy since they cannot afford the costs of healthcare treatment and particularly for acute illnesses such as cancer.Added to this, there is a lack of potable water for the community to drink, which is linked to the pollution from oil spillages, gas flaring and effluent waste discharge from oil activities. The people talked about their river being polluted, which is the primary water source they rely on for domestic and drinking purposes. The contribution of a proposed conceptual framework tries to explain the complexity of why people behave the way they do when it comes to their health. The conceptual model was a combination of the Sustainable livelihood framework (DFID, 1999) and the five concepts of access to health care utilisation (Penchansky & Thomas, 1981). The model paid attention to the socio-economic status where livelihood and capital asset showed wealth or poverty level of a person, translating into the community where the five assets of availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and quality of the health facility matter. The model emerged from the poverty cry that the people in chapter six observed. The cry of the oil-producing inhabitants from the fieldwork carried out is for them to be rescued from all their challenges in their homeland.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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