Project Topics

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN NIGERIA: CRITICAL ISSUES AND STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING THE USE BY THE RURAL COMMUNITIES

INTRODUCTION

The goal of primary health care (PHC) was to provide accessible health for all by the year 2000 and beyond. Unfortunately, this is yet to be achieved in Nigeria and seems to be unrealistic in the next decade. The PHC
aims at providing people of the world with the basic health services. Though PHC centers were established in both rural and urban areas in Nigeria with the intention of equity and easy access, regrettably, the rural populations
in Nigeria are seriously underserved when compared with their urban counterparts. About two-thirds of Nigerians
reside in rural (http.//www.fao.org/countryprofiles/index.asp) areas therefore they deserve to be served with
all the components of PHC.

Quality health is a fundamental right of all Nigerian citizens. While primary health care (PHC) centers are relatively uniformly distributed throughout local government areas (LGAs) in Nigeria, the rural people tend to underuse the basic health services. This article examines some  cross cutting issues in PHC and outlines strategies to enhance the utilization of health services by rural people. The responsibility for perpetuating the existing low use of PHC services should be held by PHC policy makers and LGA. Responsible health personnel can build a new  social order, based on greater equity and human dignity, in which health for all by the year 2015, including that of rural populations, will no
more be a dream but a reality. Capacity building and empowerment of communities through orientation,
mobilization and community organization as regards training, information sharing and continuous dialogue, could further enhance the utilization of PHC services by rural populations.