Controversies in preparing for end-of-life in Nsukka town of Nigeria and suggestions for Nigerian based social work practice

Uju Patricia Agbawodikeizu, Uju Patricia Agbawodikeizu, Prince Chiemeka Agwu, Uzoma Okoye, Uzoma Okoye, Ijeoma Igwe, Ijeoma Igwe


Death is regarded as a natural phenomenon of life, but its consequences for the bereaved are often times very bitter. One way to circumvent this bitter experience is through making plans before dying. However, not everyone seems to appreciate this, which has generated lots of controversies. Thus, end-of-life planning attitude among adult residents in one of Nigeria’s Igbo area was examined using cross-sectional survey. Data was collected from 587 adults and also analyzed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools. Age, level of education, marital status and sex were shown to have statistically significant relationships with attitude toward end-of-life planning, while cultural beliefs were discovered to also exercise overbearing influence. The study further discovered some cultural practices that deter people from planning for end-of-life and therefore advocates for social protection and reorientation which should principally involve social workers. Suggestions were made for introduction of end-of-life planning education in the curriculum of institutions of secondary and tertiary learning in Nigeria, as a measure to help reform attitudes of persons toward preparing for end-of-life in future. 

Full Text:



Adije, A. (2010). Have you written your will? Retrieved from /06/04/have-you-written-your-will.

Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In Kuhl, J. & Beckman, J. (eds.), Action-control: From cognition to behavior (pp.11-39). Heidelberg: Springer.

Akinniyi, D. (2012). Nigerians advised on writing of will. Retrieved from http://naijaintellect.

Bowman, K. W., & Singer, P. A. (2001). Chinese seniors’ perspectives on end of life decisions. Social Science & Medicine 53, 455-464.

Candib, L. M. (2002). Truth telling and advanced planning at the end of life: Problems with autonomy in a multicultural world. Journal of Families, Systems and Health, 20(3), 213-228.

Chu, W. W.C., & Woo, J. (2004). Attitudes of Chinese elderstoward advance planning on end-of-life issues: A qualitative study in a nursing home in Hong King. Journal of the Hong Kong Geriatrics Society, 12(1), 18-23.

CIA World Factbook (2016). Nigeria life expectancy at birth. Retrieved from http://www.index

Co-author [2]. (2012). Family care-giving for ageing parents in Nigeria: Gender differences, cultural imperatives and the role of education. International Journal of Education and Ageing 2(2), 139–154.

Cochran, W.G. (1963). Sampling techniques, (2nd ed), New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Coelho, P. (2012). Death in the natural order. Retrieved from dthnatur.html.

Doss, C., Truong, M., Nabanoga, G. & Namaalwa, J. (2012). Women, marriage and assets inheritance in Uganda. Development Policy Review, 30(5), 597-616. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7679.2012.00590.x

Downey, L., Engelberg, R. A., Curtis, R., Lafferty, W. E., & Patrick, D. L. (2008). Shared priorities for the end-of-life period. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 37(2), 125-188. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.

Erber, J. T. (2005). Aging and older adulthood. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth Inc.

Ewelukwa, U. (2002). Post-colonialism, gender, customary injustice: Widows in African societies. Human Rights Quarterly, 24(2), 424-486.

Ezeh, C. C., & Ugwu, G. Z. (2010). Geoelectrical sounding for estimating groundwater potential in Nsukka Local Government Area. Enugu state, Nigeria. International Journal of the Physical Sciences, 5(5), 415-420. Retrieved from

Federal Republic of Nigeria [Nigeria]. 2010b. Countdown strategy 2010 to 2015, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Abuja, Nigeria: Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Gertstorf, D., Ram, N., Geoebel, J., Schupp, J., Lindenberger, U. & Wagner, G. D. (2010). Where people live and die makes a difference: Individual and geographic disparities in well being progression at the end of life. Journal of Psycho Aging, 25(3), 661-676.

Haralambos, M., & Holborn, M. (2014). Sociology: Themes and perspectives (8th ed.). New Delhi: Collins education.

Iwobi, U. (2008). No cause for merriment: The position of widows under Nigerian law. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 20(1), 37-86.

Jeanne, S. & Michael, C. M. (2010). When a loved one is terminally ill: Talking About Death and Making End-of-life Decisions. Retrieved from serious_illness.htm

Jones, B. L. (2006). Companionship, control, and compassion: Social work perspective on the needs of children with cancer and their families at the end of life. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 9(3), 774-788.

Kagawa-Singer, M. & Blackhall, C. J. (2001). Negotiating cross-cultural issues at the end of life: “you got to go where he lives”. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286(23), 2993-3001.

Kahana, B., Dan, A., Kahana, E., & Kercher, K. (2004). The personal and social context of planning for end-of-life care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(7), 1163.

Karel, H., Zir, A., &braun, K. C. (2003). Knowledge, practice and attitudes toward end-of-life issues among adults in Hawaii. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 1, 125-130.

Karnik, A. A., Kamel, H. K., & Harper, D. (2002). Attitudes of college students toward end of life issues. The internet Journal of Pain, Symptom Control and Palliative Care 2(1). Retrieved from ive-care/volume-2-number-1/attitudes-of-college-students-toward-end-of-life-issues.html.

Kim, H. S. (2011). Factors influencing preferences of Korean people toward advanced directives. Journal of Nursing Ethics, 18(4), 505-513. doi:10.1177/0969733011408045.

Kramer, R. J., Boelk, A. Z, & Auer, C. (2006). Family conflict at the end of life: Lesson learned in a model programmes for vulnerable older adults. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 9(3), 791-801 doi:10.1089/jpm.2006.9.791.

Legal education and will writing (2007). Islamic inheritance laws: For the support of orphans and vulnerable children, persons living with HIV and other persons affected by HIV. Facilitator’s guide. Retrieved from Nigeriaprograms.

Levi, B. H., Dallasega, C., Whitehead, M., & Green, M. J. (2010). What influences individuals to engage in advance care planning? American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 27(5), 306-312. doi:10.1177/1049909109355280.

Liben, S., Papadatou, D., & Wolfe, J. (2008). Pediatric palliative care, challenges and emerging ideas. Lancet, 371, 852 – 864.

Mcpherson, B. D., & Wister, A. (2008). Aging as a social process. Canadian perspectives (5thed). Canada: Oxford University Press.

Merriman, A., & Harding, R. (2010). Pain control in the African context: The Ugandan introduction of affordable morphine to relieve suffering at the end of life. Philos Ethics Humanit Med, 5 (10), doi: 10.1186/1747-5341-5-10

National Bureau of Statistics (2010). Publication of the details of the breakdown of the national and state provisional totals 2006 census. Retrieved from

National Population Commission (2014). Nigeria demographic and health survey 2013. Abuja, Nigeria: Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

National Population Commission. (2006). Population census of the federal republic of Nigeria: Preliminary report. Abuja: National Population Commission.

Neuman, L. & Robson, K. (2012). Basics of social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Njoku, E. (2010). Transforming Igbo mindset/paradigm. Retrieved from

Okafor, R. U. (2009). 4-circle base triangular model in ageing and death education. An inaugural lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka delivered on April 17, 2009.

Okeibunor, J. C., &Anugwom, E. E. (2002). Sociological theory: An insight into the dominant viewpoints. Nsukka: Falladu publishing company.

Okonkwo, U., Soronnadi, V., Udemezue, G., & Ohia, O. (2002). Will making: Making sure your heirs get their fair share women’s aid collective, legal literacy series 3. Retrieved from com_content&do_pdf=1&id=33.

Onukwugha, G. C. (2008). Death and dying in the African context. A Journal for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes. Retrieved from:

Onyeka, T. C. (2011). Palliative care in Enugu, Nigeria: Challenges to a new practice. Retrieved from

Ritzer, G. (2008). Sociological theory (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Ritzer, G. (2011). Sociological theory. 8th Edn, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2013). Sociological theory (9th ed.). new York: McGraw-Hill.

Rotimi, E. (2012). Will and testament: Tool for estate management. Retrieved from

Social Care Institute for Excellence (2009). End of life care: Information links for professionals who support people and their families at the end of life. Retrieved from uk/index.aspx.

Soyannwo, O. A. (2007). Palliative health and public health, a perspective from Nigeria. Journal of Public Health Policy, 28, 56 – 58.

Stein, G. L., & Sherman, P. A. (2005). The state of social work policy. Journal of Palliative Medicine ‘Social Work Series’, 8(6), 1271-1281. doi:10.1001/jama.284.19.2476.

Teater, B. (2010). Applying social work theories and methods. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Umeh, M. (2010). Property rights in West Africa: Unveiling the visions of women. Retrieved from property% 20rights%20in%20Igbo%20land.doc.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. 2013. Report on progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

US National Centre for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports (2010). Cause of death based on International Classification of Diseases (10th ed). Deaths: Final data for 2007, 58(19). Retrieved from

World Bank report (2012). Death rate, crude in Nigeria. Retrieved from http://www.

World Health Organization. (2010). The WHO definition of palliative care. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Yung-ting, S. (2005). Looking beyond retirement-patterns and predictors of formal end-of-life planning among retirement age individuals. (unpublished master of science dissertation) University of Wisconsin –Madiso, USA.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Social Work and Social Sciences Review