Adeagbo awarded Global Public Health Faculty Pilot Grant

Published on February 28, 2024

Prof. Oluwafemi Adeagbo of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Oluwafemi Adeagbo, assistant professor of community and behavioral health, has been named the recipient of the College of Public Health’s inaugural Global Public Health Faculty Pilot Grant.

The $25,000 grant will be used to complete the project titled, “Emigration and Mental Health Outcomes among Left-Behind Families in Ibadan, Nigeria.” The award is funded via the Global Public Health Initiative, which is made possible through the generosity of Dale and Linda Baker.

Adeagbo will serve as principal investigator along with two co-principal investigators: Senayon Olaoluwa, coordinator, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and Jibril Abdulmalik, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

About the Project

Migration from the Global South to the Global North has increased over the past few decades, as the world becomes increasingly a global village. This trend is driven by several factors, such as improved access to skills acquisition and education, better living conditions and quality of life, and economic advancement. The mental health implications of migration have been extensively studied and documented in literature. However, the mental health impact and emotional distress on the loved ones left behind when significant family members emigrate abroad remains a grey area that has received scant attention. This condition of the left-behind is described as “extalgia” and is the premise of this work, which aims to step into this gap in knowledge, to ascertain the prevalence of common mental disorders as well as psychological distress among left-behind individuals in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Ibadan is the largest city in West Africa, and Nigeria is the most populous African nation with a huge migrant population in most countries in the Global North. A mixed methods approach will be deployed to obtain quantitative and qualitative data from up to 1,030 eligible respondents (survey= 1000; in-depth interviews= 30), aged 18 years and over, whose close family members have emigrated for up to 12 months. The interviews will help to gain critical insights into their unique experiences, perspectives, and coping strategies. The findings of this preliminary study will provide critical information about the mental health status of left-behind individuals and will guide more elaborate investigations as well as intervention development.