International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Role of Nigerian Women in the Development of the Health Sector: The Case of Tiv Women of Benue State, Nigeria
Yecho, Elizabeth Ihugh

The paper examines the role of Nigerian women in the development of the health sector, focusing on Tiv women of Benue state, Nigeria. Women assist in the provision of healthcare; they play roles which complement those of men. Some women are physicians’ i.e medical doctors, nurses and top hospital administrators. Women however are mostly concentrated in the low status health-related occupations such as hospital maids, nurses, and other paramedical jobs. The paper begins by conceptualising some basic concepts such as health, women and development for a better understanding. This is followed by the geographical location of the Tiv of Benue state. This study also assesses the roles of Tiv women in the health sector during the pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial eras respectively. The paper analyses the obstacles Tiv women encountered in carrying out their roles in the health sector. And they are identified at two major levels: First, are obstacles which are located within the socio-cultural milieu and the second, are the present occupational segregation and the sex-typing of jobs in the health sector. The paper provides some recommendations on how best these obstacles can be ameliorated. These include: there should be supportive systems to help women realise their professional or career goals, the government and private individuals need to get more involved with the provision of day care centres, so that child care itself is not seen as a hindrance to female career development in the health sector, there should be increased participation of women in the policy and decision –making levels of the health profession, the government should also initiate new policies which can help to improve activities in the sector, etc. The paper finally concludes that women should be empowered by the government, individuals, parents and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to improve on the roles they are playing in the health sector educationally, financially as well as morally.

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