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Improving the Health Education Program in Rural Nigeria

In some areas, it kills nearly 10 percent of the population in childhood" (Diamond, 1989, p. 8). Malaria, along with blindness, yaws, leprosy, sleeping sickness, and worm infections are major public health problems in Nigeria (Paxton, 1990).

Measels is another problem which affects maternal and child health in Nigeria. Measles is an acute, contagious viral disease (Schoenbaum, 1985). Infestation of the disease is caused by tapeworms, which may be spread by livestock. While measles is a public health problem in Nigeria, it is not a problem for the entire country of the scope and significance of the type posed to the country by malaria and the other diseases indicated above. Measels is significant with respect to public

health in rural Nigeria, however, and it is particularly significant with respect to maternal and child health.

Most tropical diseases are endemic in Nigeria (Paxton, 1990). Agricultural practices involving the handling of livestock contribute to the spread of diseases throughout the country (Moran and Bernard, 1989), as does the rapid urbanization of the country, which is characterized by mass migrations from the countryside to the city (The World Bank, 1990). These problems of livestock management and urbanization also contribute to a significant ground water contamination problem in the country, which, in turn, enhances the spread of disease (Marshall, 1988). Nigeria's population in 1989 was estimated at 115.2 million, which makes it one of the 10 largest countries in the world in the context of total population. In terms of population, Nigeria is also one of the world's fastest growing countries. In 1989 the population density in Nigeria was 322 persons per square mile.

The country's crude death rate in 1989 was 22.1 persons per 1,000 persons. The death rate has been declining since 1960 at the rate of 1.5 percent per year. The country's crude birth rate per 1,000 persons was 49 per...

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