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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Implications of the traditional reproductive value of 'ewu-ukwu' for the health of women in Mbaise community of Imo State, Nigeria
Author:Igbo, E.U.M.ISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Nigeria
West Africa
women's health
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Cultural Roles
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Status of Women
Medicine, Nutrition, Public Health
reproductive health
Mbaise (Nigeria)
Multiple birth
Abstract:In Mbaise, one of the culturally distinct Igbo communities of Imo State, Nigeria, a woman who has had up to ten pregnancies is believed to have attained an enviable social status, which will be generally recognized on the day she celebrates the 'ewu-ukwu'. The distinguishing feature of the ceremony is the slaughtering of 'ewu' (goats), whose fats are then rubbed around the women's 'ukwu' (waist). The essence of this ritual is to 'insure' the woman against the dangers of ill health, particularly those associated with the 'waist' with which she bore the children. The author highlights the health implications of the 'ewu-ukwu' tradition, that glorifies the arrival of a woman's tenth child, in view of the risks women face with pregnancy and childbirth and the heavy toll of multiple pregnancies. Preliminary research indicates that young couples in Mbaise are starting to revise their aspirations for large families downwards. What is needed is a culturally acceptable programme that can provide men and women in Mbaise with information on reproductive health and family planning practices that can lead to a drastic reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality through the termination of the 'ewu-ukwu' tradition. Bibliogr.