Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Patrick A. Tschida


As the global demand for oil increases, human health implications related to its discovery and transport remain a serious concern. The Niger Delta has been the site of severe environmental degradation since the oil boom of the 1970s. While some researchers have examined the environmental effects of oil procurement, few have explored human health implications in this region. This phenomenological study investigated the human physical and mental health consequences of oil-related environmental degradation through the perceptions and lived experiences of villagers in Koluama, Nigeria. The conceptual framework for the study was based on research conducted by Morello-Frosch, Zuk, Jerrett, Shamasunder and Kyle (2011) on the public health consequences of environmental pollution to which marginalized populations are vulnerable. Participants included a random sample of 33 residents of Koluama. Data were collected via individual semistructured interviews and 3 focus groups and analyzed using: interpretative phenomenological analysis. Themes that emerged from analysis included children's health issues, including asthma and other breathing problems; and death rates among the elderly in the area. The villagers, aware of the increase in mortality and illness in the area, also suffered from anxiety and depression. The research findings demonstrated the perception of the participants that the oil companies appeared not to be concerned about the lack of health care in the area; although illness increased in the area of the oil fields. This study might be beneficial in eliciting positive social change at the individual and organizational levels by illuminating oil-related health problems and may lead to better health care access for the population.