The Christian Medical Missionary's Response to the Health Needs of Northern Nigerian Women Due to Boko Haram Terrorism
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The Boko Haram terrorist group has negatively influenced women’s health in Northern Nigeria, contributing indirectly to an increase in the prevalence of child marriage in the region, as well as kidnapping and assaulting women and their families directly. This paper examines Nigeria and its health concerns, including child marriage, and the history and activity of Boko Haram. Additionally, it poses three areas in which Christian medial missionaries may assist, based on Corbett and Fikkert’s steps in community development after disaster: relief and rehabilitation, where the medical missionary interacts chiefly with victims of Boko Haram to aid in medical and spiritual healing largely through short-term mission work, and development, involving a medical missionary’s interaction with the larger Nigerian community through and alongside traditional Nigerian healers for the benefit of Nigerian women as a whole. All the efforts of medical missionaries must be made alongside Nigerian women and the greater community, and medical missionaries must be careful to avoid paternalism or coercion in influencing individuals or the community. Utilizing Paulo Freire’s theory of oppression, this thesis argues that Christian medical missionaries can aid women in relieving immediate medical needs, but will make more of an impact on an individual level by rehabilitating women victims of Boko Haram, and on a community level by empowering women through spiritual and medical support, for the betterment of Nigerian as a whole.