Assessment of primary health care facilities service readiness in Nigeria
Oyekale, Abayomi Samuel
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Background: Effective delivery of healthcare services requires availability of adequate infrastructure, diagnostic medical equipment, drugs and well-trained medical personnel. In Nigeria, poor funding and mismanagement often characterize healthcare service delivery thereby affecting coverage and quality of healthcare services. Therefore, the state of service delivery in Nigeria's health sector has come under some persistent criticisms. This paper analyzed service readiness of Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities in Nigeria with focus on availability of some essential drugs and medical equipment. Methods: Service Delivery Indicator (SDI) data for PHC in Nigeria were used. The data were collected from 2480 healthcare facilities from 12 states in the Nigeria's 6 geopolitical zones between 2013 and 2014. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Ordinary Least Square regression. Results: Medical disposables such as hand gloves and male condoms were reported to be available in 77.18 and 44.03% of all the healthcare facilities respectively, while immunization services were provided by 86.57%. Functional stethoscopes were reported by 77.22% of the healthcare facilities, while only 68.10% had sphygmomanometers. In the combined healthcare facilities, availability of some basic drugs such as Azithromycin, Nifedipine, Dexamethasone and Misoprostol was low with 10.48, 25.20, 21.94 and 17.06%, respectively, while paracetamol and folic acid both had high availability with 74.31%. Regression results showed that indices of drug and medical equipment availability increased significantly (p?<?0.05) among states in southern Nigeria and with presence of some power sources (electricity, generators, batteries and solar), but decreased among dispensaries/health posts. Travel time to headquarters and rural facilities significantly reduced indices of equipment availability (p?<?0.05). Conclusion: It was concluded that for Nigeria to ensure better equity in access to healthcare facilities, which would facilitate achievement of some health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs), quality of services at its healthcare facilities should be improved. Given some differences between availability of basic medical equipment and their functionality, and lack of some basic drugs, proper inventory of medical services should be taken with effort put in place to increase funding and ensure proper management of healthcare resources.