Publications Summary

Document Type
Further Analysis
Publication Topic(s)
Child Health and Development, Nutrition
Nigeria DHS, 2013
Recommended Citation
Winter, Rebecca, Akinlo, Ambrose, and Lia Florey. 2016. Trends in Child Health in Nigeria, 2003–2013. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 103. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
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Publication Date
August 2016
Publication ID


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The study examines trends in key child health indicators in Nigeria, using data from three Demographic and Health surveys (DHS) conducted in 2003, 2008, and 2013. The indicators are in three broad health areas: child nutrition, prevention of childhood illness (immunization and coverage of insecticide-treated mosquito nets), and care seeking for childhood illness. The report assesses changes in the child health indicators between the three surveys, as a whole and by children’s background characteristics. Overall, the results show a substantial need for further improvements in children’s health status in Nigeria. While significant improvements were observed over the ten-year period for child immunization coverage (positive trends), significant declines were observed with respect to most child nutrition indicators (negative trends). For other child nutrition and child illness indicators—such as early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and care seeking from a health provider or facility for fever and for symptoms of ARI—coverage did not change over the decade and remains low. The findings also point to extensive geographic disparities in child health, with children in the Northern zones fairing worse than children in the Southern zones, and with persistent socioeconomic disparities across nearly all child health indicators. In conclusion, Nigeria’s efforts to promote child health and achieve health equity for all parts of the country are still far from satisfactory on nearly all indicators.


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