Negotiating hygiene and sanitary behaviors in transnational contexts: examples of Nigerians in the UK

Emmanuel M. Akpabio

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The paper seeks to understand the extent to which hygiene and sanitary attitudes/practices are reproduced in transnational contexts using examples of Nigerians in the UK. In-depth and semi-structured interviews, participant interaction, secondary resources, follow-up interviews and informant discussions were important data sources. Issues discussed in this paper incorporate hand, body, dental, food and domestic hygiene and sanitary matters. The results show that not much has changed in hygiene and sanitary behaviors of the respondents despite having changed the environment and contexts of livelihood activities. The modest, recorded improvements in some behaviors can be attributed to the presence of basic infrastructures and services that unavoidably influence their utilization for some respondents. The paper argues that people do not necessarily aim for good hygiene and sanitary behaviors for health reasons as much as moral, social and certain cultural values. The desire to look good, be clean, eliminate discomfort, avoid bad bodily odor and gain social acceptance were the underlying driving reasons for sustaining good hygiene and sanitary living; health concerns were less important. Key elements of these findings hold practical prospects for addressing the hygiene and sanitary behavioral challenges for developing countries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-141
    JournalJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


    • diaspora sanitary habits
    • health
    • Ibibio
    • knowledge
    • migrants
    • UK


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