Comfort E. Ossom

Social welfare is a set of humanitarian services provided to enable individuals and families, to cope with social issues pertaining to their living conditions. These services are usually targeted towards poverty reduction and it enables healthy living/improved living conditions within communities.

Indigent families exist in all parts of the world and they require support (social welfare) to survive as a result of the social issues they face. These social issues range from poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, deteriorating health conditions, no access to education, child marriage, and social injustice. According to Omelewa M, and Kazeem K, 1991, certain people need some level of assistance either due to their personality or because of the environment they find themselves in, they require some social welfare to enable them to cope with the social issues arising from living conditions.

In Nigeria, it is evident that children from indigent families especially girls do not have access to education. proper health services, and menstrual hygiene practices. These situations worsen their health as they grow into adulthood and position them for child marriage which will eventually lead to a high child mortality rate. According to Gordon et al., 2003, 52.6% of the total children in the country in the year 2000 were deprived of basic human needs. Nearly fifty per cent of Africa’s children live in some form of housing deprivation.

UNICEF 2011 reported that each year in Nigeria, nearly one million children die before their fifth birthday. One-quarter of these children, 241,000, die in the first month of life as newborns. Despite the effort to reduce infant mortality, Nigeria still maintains a high ranking of under-five mortality rate in the world. UNICEF also reports that 43% of children in sub-Saharan Africa do not have safe, accessible drinking water. 64% of children in sub-Saharan Africa do not have adequate sanitation.1

Efforts have been made by the government to provide social welfare to citizens, but it is not enough to go around all communities. Thus, as individuals, we should always strive to provide the little social welfare we can to those in need within our communities. A little kindness can go a long way.


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