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Public perception of climate change and its impact on health and environment in rural southwestern Nigeria

Authors Asekun-Olarinmoye E, Bamidele JO, Odu OO, Olugbenga-Bello AI, Abodunrin O, Adebimpe WO, Oladele E, Adeomi AA, Adeoye O, Ojofeitimi

Received 4 September 2013

Accepted for publication 6 November 2013

Published 10 February 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 1—10


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Esther O Asekun-Olarinmoye,1 James O Bamidele,2 Olusola O Odu,2, Adenike I Olugbenga-Bello,3 Olugbenga L Abodurin,3 Wasiu O Adebimpe,1 Edward A Oladele,4 Adeleye A Adeomi,3 Oluwatosin A Adeoye,3 Ebenezer O Ojofeitimi3

1Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria; 2Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria; 3Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Science, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Nigeria; 4SIDHAS Project, Family Health International, Abuja, Nigeria

Background: Climate change (CC) has received extensive media attention recently, and it is currently on the international public health agenda. A study of knowledge and attitudes to climate change, most especially from rural Nigerian communities, is important for developing adaptation strategies. This is a study of public perceptions of CC and its impact on health and environment in rural southwestern Nigeria.
Methods: This was a community-based descriptive cross-sectional study of 1,019 rural respondents using a multistage sampling method. The research instrument used was a pretested, structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. χ2, Cramér's V, and Kendall's τ-c statistics were employed in addition to fitting the data to a logistic regression model to explore associations found significant on bivariate analysis.
Results: Mean age of respondents was 36.9 (±12.4) years. About 911 (89.4%) of respondents opined that there has been a change in climate in the last 10 years. Supernatural reasons were prominent among respondent-reported causes of CC. Identified risky behavior contributing to CC included smoking (10.7%), bush burning (33.4%), and tree felling (41.0%). Poor knowledge of causes but good knowledge of effects of CC were found in this study. About two-thirds of respondents had a positive attitude to causes of CC, while half had a positive attitude to the effects of CC. A significant association was found between educational status (P<0.001, Kendall's τ-c=-0.042), occupational status (P<0.01, Kendall's τ-c=0.088), and attitude to causes of CC. Further analysis using logistic regression showed that occupational status was significantly associated with likelihood of having a positive attitude, but educational status and marital status were not.
Conclusion: Rural areas of Nigeria are vulnerable to the adverse effects of CC. Respondents' poor knowledge but positive attitude to CC calls for dissemination of adequate information on CC in sustained health-promotion programs.

Keywords: climate change, global warming, public perception, rural child health, environmental effect

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