The WHO Alma Ata Declaration of 1978 define health as a state of complete social, psychological and physical well-being. It revealed that aside biomedical germs and genetic explanations, there are social and cultural contexts of diseases and ill-health. This multidisciplinary approach further stresses the importance of social and behavioural factors in the study of etiology, incidence and prevalence of diseases, as well as the causes and management of illness. Social and behavioural studies understand and explain the nature and mechanism of societal, institutional and individual conditions and major determinants of health status, health seeking behaviours and healthcare outcome through social and cultural prism. The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, earn livelihood and aged, contribute significantly to their health statuses. Therefore, social and behavioural studies are germane to achieving sustainable health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities in a developing country like Nigeria. The overarching goals of this unit is to understand better the key social factors that shape the health of children, adolescents with focus on the family and through these, develop preventative interventions

There exists the opportunity for studies and trainings to spearhead multi-disciplinary research on child health with other units from and outside the Institute of Child Health and also with policy makers. These collaborative efforts are aimed at identifying the social and behavioural determinants of health and ill-health, and also to develop and evaluate interventions and policies leading to the improvement of child health. This includes examining the effects of social and behavioural factors on ill-health occurrence and management in relations to socio-cultural contexts and the goal of restoring healthiness to individuals, families, and societies for sustainable health, healthcare and development.

This unit  will continue to spearhead specialized and advanced training for both scholars and practitioners that will not only be exposed to health studies from infectious and genetic angles, but also have an holistic understanding of social and behavioural aspects of Child and Adolescent Health.

Specifically, this unit shall cover the following areas:

  1. Promoting health through the study of social influences
  2. Quantitative and Ethnographic Methods of Inquiry in Social Aspects of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health,
  3. Contextual Analysis of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health and Healthcare
  4. The Anthropology of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health: a) Historical Documentation and Analysis of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health and Healthcare b) Application of Social and Cultural Theories of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health and Ill-Health
  5. Global and Local dimensions of Child, Adolescent and Maternal Health Policies