Health illness (World Bank, 2007). In agricultural

Health
is increasingly affecting rural households, farm labour as well as agricultural
productivity in developing countries. Health as a capital good can either
improve or reduce farmers’ productive ability. Illness and death from malaria,
tuberculosis, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, skin disease, brains
disease, brain cognitive problem, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases reduce
agricultural productivity through the loss of labour, knowledge of productive
adults and assets to cope with illness (World Bank, 2007). In agricultural
communities, poor health reduces income and productivity, further decreasing
people’s ability to address poor health and inhibiting economic development
(Hawkes, and Ruel, 2006).

However,
agriculture is one of the most important sectors in Nigeria, because the
country has highly diversified agro-ecological condition which makes possible
the production of a wide range of agricultural products (Hartmann, 2005).
Nigeria economy is still predominantly agrarian and farmers are the key players
in the business of agriculture in the country, especially within the rural
communities. Farmers contributes over 80% of all the hours spent in
agricultural production, processing and also undertake about 60% – 70% of the
rural agricultural products, marketing, thus providing more than two-third
(2/3) of the workforce in agriculture. Agriculture remains the fundamental
sustainability to economic growth, poverty alleviation, improvement in rural
livelihood and environmental sustainability (World Bank, 2007). Three-quarter
of the world’s poor people live in the rural areas, particularly Asia and
Africa (Ravallion, Chen, and Sangraula, 2007). Fisheries and livestock are not
left out because the large expanse of land that the farming household do not
utilize for cropping activities are put to use in either free range system of
livestock or water areas for fishing.

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Fishing
plays crucial roles in boosting rural development, food security, social well
being, employment opportunity for about 8.23 million people in the rural areas
and 18.27 million people in the urban areas, reduction of poverty and hunger,
and also contributed about 4.0% to the GDP in the developing countries (FDF,
2007; Aminu, 2007 and FAO, 2000). Fisheries resources have been identified as
the most valuable natural food resources for mankind due to its importance as a
veritable protein and other mineral resources, which are important for normal
functioning of the body system. As a measure for solving the problem of
insufficient protein intake, steps have been taken to increase the supply of
fish to the individual which was based on the fact that fish is one of the
cheapest sources of high quality protein. Among vertebrates, fish has the
closest relationship with humans and the relationship is not only phylogenetic
but also religious, cultural and socio-economic. Fish is a symbol of abundant
and faith in Christianity. Christ and his disciples were described as “fishers
of men.” Jesus also fed 5,000 people with fish and bread (Matthew 14:15-21;
Luke 9:12-17). Even before Christianity fish was seen as a symbol representing
several goddesses.  In Buddhism, fish
symbolizes happiness and freedom. Some pagan traditions also recognized fish as
a symbol of fertility and attribute of the goddess. According to Sikoki (2013),
ancient Celts believed that Salmon, a fish, derived its wisdom from consuming
the sacred hazel nuts from the well of knowledge (Segais). Fish symbolically
meant wisdom, knowledge inspiration and prophesy. Similarly, the ancient
Eastern Indian mythology regarded the fish as a symbol of transformation and
creation. In China, fish is regarded as a symbol of unity and fidelity. It
derives from the fact that the fish (particularly Koi) swim in pairs. For this
reason, fishes are often given as wedding presents in form of charms to newly
wedded couples for fertility and abundance due to its high reproductive
potential.

In
Nigeria, the first trace of fish farming was practiced by some missionaries in
the early 1920’s in Ilora, Oyo state, where fish was raised to supplement the
protein intake of pregnant women. Fish like any other lower member of animal
kingdom are important to man, in fact man cannot live without fish, as they
always provide man supportive services. Fish as a staple food is highly
favoured by man right from its history. Fish utilization was dated back to the
ancient era when fish were used extensively. Uses of fish by man are limitless
since people use fish for food, ceremonies, recreation, educational purpose,
traditional medicine, settlement of dispute, naming of children, religious, cosmetic
production, gifts, traditional initiation into certain cult group or society
and pets. Apart from the use of fish as basic ingredients in stew and soup
preparations, it is also included in traditional recipes in different form.
Fish have been shown to prevent asthma, as children who eat fish more than once
in a week are 70% less likely to suffer from asthma. Fish eyeballs, associated
muscle tissue and guts have been scientifically found to contain high content
of brain invigorating and cholesterol reducing substance (Newsmax, 2017).
Consumption of oily fish at least twice a week reduces development of prostate
cancer and some dying diseases. Fish is used in treatment of
hypertriglyceridemia, prevention of brain from cognitive problem, lupus disease
(especially in the skin and joint) and heart disease, treatment of clinical
depression, slow histopathological progression and increase survival in
genetically engineered mice (Berquin, et
al. 2007). Fish is also used in the production of cold-liver oil and flesh
of the escolar or castor oil fish Ruvettus which acts as a purgative. Variation
in utilization of freshwater fish is common worldwide, varying according to
culture and custom of the people involved. There is unorthodox use of fish in
traditional medicine and health care services in which species of Clarias has
been found in more than fifteen different herbal remedies (Balogun, 1997).

However,
it is this background that the study was carried out to investigate the
utilization of freshwater fish species for trado-medicine and health care
services among rural households in Ogun State with the objectives to describe
the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents, identify the types of
fresh-water fish species used for trado-medicine and health care services and
factors influencing the utilization of fresh-water fish species for
trado-medicine.

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