Gender Differentials in Health Status and Socioeconomic Wellbeing of Older Persons in Lagos State, Nigeria

By Ajiboye, Olanrewaju Emmanuel | Gender & Behaviour, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Gender Differentials in Health Status and Socioeconomic Wellbeing of Older Persons in Lagos State, Nigeria


Ajiboye, Olanrewaju Emmanuel, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

Although the relationship between socioeconomic wellbeing and health status is well-established in Western industrialized countries, but, few studies have examined this association in developing countries particularly among older persons in Lagos State, Nigeria. National and International Organizations have expressed concerns on the older persons worldwide, and suggested measures for improving their health status and overall well-being within the framework of sustainable development. However, older persons are not homogenous category. It has been observed that the gender of the individual affects their access and opportunities to the available health services in the society on the one hand and overall socioeconomic wellbeing on the other. This study focuses on the differences in the situations and capabilities of the older persons in the society rather than discussing them as homogeneous group. Inequalities experienced in earlier life, for example in access to education, employment, and health care, as well as those based on gender which, have a critical bearing on status and well being in old age were critically examined. Triangulation method was used for the collection of research information. A multi-stage sampling procedure was adopted to select the respondents included in the study. The data collected were analysed using qualitative, quantitative, and percentage analyses. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to code and organise the data collected. Cross-tabulations of social and economic characteristics were done to allow for a general description of the respondents and their household characteristics. Hypotheses testing were done using logistic regression technique to determine the net effect of explanatory factors on the probability that the gender of the older persons would influence their overall socio-economic well being or otherwise. The study found that the life course experiences of individuals is an important determinant of overall wellbeing. The study also found that older men are more likely to enjoy good health status and socio-economic well being than older female. The study therefore conclude that inequality in personal income and socio-economic well being is structured by gender, health status and life course experiences.

KEY WORDS: Gender, Health Status, Socioeconomic well being, Older Persons.

Introduction

Human development is the basic right of every individual and health is a pre-requisite for the economic development. Health is an entrypoint towards prosperity and reducing poverty. The links between ill health and poverty are well known. Ill health contributes to poverty due to "catastrophic costs" of illness and reduced earning capacity during illness. Poor people suffer disproportionately from disease and are at higher risk of dying from their illness than are better off and healthier individuals. Older persons, Women and children are particularly vulnerable. Illness keeps children away from schools, decreasing their chances of productive adulthood and pauperized the later life. The cumulative effect of the above situation affect the overall socio-economic wellbeing of individuals in the society.

Rapid declines in fertility rates and mortality rates along with substantial improvements in health care systems have resulted in the growth of older populations around the world (Giang and Pfau, 2009). Ageing is therefore becoming a feature of human populations worldwide because of general improvement in sanitation and elimination of life threatening diseases. This trend, evidenced at first, in reduced proportions of children and enlarged groups of adults of working age, is rapidly extending its impact beyond the countries with established low fertility. For instance, during the last forty (40) years, the global populations of all age group have grown substantially. However, the projections for the first quarter of the next century indicate that the fastest growth will occur amongst older groups, whereas the number of under four years old will barely change, while the number of 60 year olds is expected to double and those over 80 year will almost tripple in number (Lloyd-Sherlock and Paul, 1996; Amanda, 1999; Schoenmaeckers, 2007). …

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