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Abstract

Studies about production of health for children have mainly concentrated on the behavior of one or two key household members compared to the dynamics in households involving three or more members. Health production refers to the process of directing available knowledge, skills, and resources towards ensuring, maintaining, and sustaining the health of the members. This cross-sectional design study explored how the dynamics of household structure and members’ roles influence the process of health production in a rural Nigerian community. An interviewer-moderated questionnaire was administered through a panel survey approach in 576 households. Twelve in-depth interviews and eight group discussion sessions were also conducted in Igbo-Ora, Southwestern Nigeria. Twenty-two roles identified from qualitative narratives, grouped into social interaction, material supports, safe environment, and physical health care supports categories, were ranked on a score of performance by household members. The mean household size was 5.4. Malaria, acute respiratory infection, and diarrhea were reported for children in 41.8% households. Mothers recognized and took action on child’s illnesses, while fathers made payment for treatment than other household members. Household decisions on child’s wellbeing focus more on treatment (84.4%) than preventive (7.3%) actions, while final decision resides more in the fathers’ (58.3%) compared to the mothers’ (15.8%) authorities. Mothers scored the highest points in all the role categories, the fathers scored points next to the mothers in material support, and safe-environment roles, while the children’s older siblings scored points next to the mothers on social interaction and caring roles. Health is produced in Igbo-Ora through the consciousness of growth monitoring, safe environment, and hygiene practice.