Don Demands Abolition of Health-Threatening Cultural Practices

A case has been made for the abolition of cultural and traditional practices that pose threats and are dangerous to individual or public health.

A parasitologist, Prof. Dennis Aribodor, who lectures at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Awka.

He frowned at such practices as forcing widows to consume the water used for bathing corpses of their spouses while reacting to an incident which occurred at Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State recently.

Recall that Mrs Ify Obinabo, the Commissioner in the Anambra State Ministry for Women and Social Welfare, rescued a widow, Mrs Patricia Eligbue from her relatives who forced her to drink the water that was used in washing the corpse of her husband’s nephew.

Aribodor who is also a public health expert, condemned the act and called for the abolition of such harmful traditional practices in the society.

“Such cultural practices as forcing a widow to consume or drink the water used for bathing corpse should no longer be tolerated. It is not only unhealthy but outdated.

“There could be terrible health consequences associated with such an ugly practice, once a human being dies, the body starts decomposing because of bacterial action. Some of these bacteria are pathogenic, meaning that they cause diseases.

“Moreover, what is the source of the water for bathing the corpse? It is possible that it could be contaminated. Apart from diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, there could be heavy metals in the water that can trigger damages to the body organs such as liver, lungs and kidney,” he said.

Aribodor called for an intensified behavioural change awareness programmes by the state government agencies to move away from such unhealthy cultural practices.

“Apart from this, those forcing widows to consume or drink the water from bathing the corpse, would they even drink water from bathing a living person?

“We need aggressive awareness in the communities, and the Non- Governmental Organisations should assist government in ensuring that such practices longer happen in our society,” he added.