Maternal Literacy and Family Well-Being
Maternal literacy and family wellbeing are two factors that correlate positively. Maternal literacy determines the well-being of a family because women play a significant role in protecting and maintaining the health conditions of their families. Since hygienic conditions in the family are important in controlling contagious diseases, women have the noble responsibility of ensuring that water, food, and living environment are free from any hazardous substances.
When water for domestic purposes contains contaminants such as pathogens, boiling is usually a simple strategy of preventing waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Handling of food under unhygienic conditions also predisposes families to waterborne diseases and parasitic worms. Likewise, a dirty living environment increases the vulnerability of family members to diseases. Water, hygiene, and sanitation programs usually aim at preventing the spread of infectious diseases, which are preventable. Brocklehurst and Bartram assert that the provision of education enhances maternal literacy, which is essential in improving hygienic conditions of water, food, and the environment.
Maternal literacy is also important in families because it helps mothers to provide a balanced diet and nutritious food to family members. Mothers, who are illiterate, are unable to feed their families using a balanced diet and nutritious food because they do not understand the importance of diet in the health of the family. Khatab argues that illiterate mothers do not understand the essence of diet and nutrition in promoting the healthy conditions of their families.
Since mothers dictate the nature of the food that family members eat, they determine the health status of the family. Hence, improving literacy levels among illiterate women would enhance their understanding of diet and nutrition and thus provide an effective means of promoting health within the family. In developing countries where numerous cases of malnutrition occur, education of women to improve their literacy skills and understanding of healthy lifestyles that befit each family member. Hence, maternal health plays a significant role in shaping the well-being of the family.