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Understanding the barriers to the utilization of primary health care in a low-income setting: implications for health policy and planning

07 Oct 2013

The essence of primary health care is the provision of essential health services and commodities to individuals and communities using available, acceptable and sustainable resources. However, there has been a growing lack of confidence by the populace as evidenced by poor utilization of the services. This study sought to identify the predominant barriers affecting the utilization of primary health care services in Batsari Local Government in Katsina State, Nigeria. A cluster of 630 households was surveyed in the catchment of the 21 health primary health facilities. A catchment been defined as a household located within 5 km of a primary health center. Using a three digit randomly generated numbers a household was selected. Once selected the start house and twenty-nine contiguous houses were visited. a total of 630 households were surveyed. In all households, questions were asked on the predominant health problems, as well as the major determinants of access and utilization of primary health care services .The results were computed and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software SPSS. Version 17.0. The findings from all the respondents (n=630) showed that majority of the people preferred to seek care from the patent medicine stores (53.63%) as against only 7.6% who utilized the primary health care services. The commonest reasons why respondents do not utilize these services were lack of essential drugs, high cost of services as well as inadequate infrastructure in primary healthcare facilities. The study has highlighted some of the multiple factors affecting the utilization of primary healthcare services. It is expected that these findings will guide policy makers in improving healthcare delivery particularly where the need is greatest - at the grassroots - in line with the national health policy and national health strategic development plan.

7 October 2013

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