FACTORS INFLUENCING THE UTILIZATION OF MODERN HEALTH CARE FACILITIES: (A STUDY OF AKPULU COMMUNITY IN IDEATO NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
This paper was prepared as a background for the health problem. It focuses on the major factors influencing the utilization of modern healthcare facilities in Akpulu. It is written primarily for an audience of rural communities to understand the important of health awareness and factors responsible for the high incidence of death rates. This is because most of the people especially the uneducated, still believe that certain illness and mortality has element of supernaturalism. To achieve the aims of this research, variables such as the age-range, educational background, occupation, employment status and religion of those who involve in utilization of healthcare facilities were taken into consideration. Relevant data ware also collected and analysed for a meaningful understanding of the research work.
From this study, it is noted that mainly, lack of health education, family income, lack of hospital or health-centre, socio-cultural belief are the main causes of inadequate utilization of modern healthcare facilities in rural communities. Viewing this points as the main factors towards non-utilization of healthcare facilities, in Akpulu, the researcher strongly suggests that the government should design a form for the sole purpose of creating health awareness to the rural community provision of clinics and health centres and where all these necessary amenities are already in existence, government should endeavour to equip them with qualified personnel. This is because; the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political, belief, and economic or social condition. Government therefore has a responsibility for the health of the people, which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health care facilities and other social services.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
To achieve and maintain good health people must have basic knowledge about the human body and how it functions. Only then can they determine what will or what will not help or hurt their health.Therefore learning about health should be a part of every person’s education, current knowledge about health together with good living habits can help almost everyone to maintain good health and improve the quality of life. Society as a whole benefits from people good health just as individuals do. For this reasons various government and voluntary agencies strive to preserve and improve people health condition.
In this respect therefore, health is of strategic importance to a nation and its people because a healthy nation is a wealthy nation, since good health implies high productivity, low morbidity (ill health) and low mortality (death) rater. Hence the world health organization (WHO) recommendation to the nations of the world to strive 2010”. Ransome Kuti (1986) has pointed out, however, that health for all in that year, does not mean that healthcare services would be totally free for all citizens in terms of cost, nor does it mean that everybody would be taken care of by specialist, teaching or general hospital, it simply means that in terms of accessibility, healthcare services would be available to each individual to utilize.
Byrant (1972) asserted that every apparent medical success must be measured against the need of all. Every effort, every cluster of resources must be divided by the total number of people. In insistence on using this denominator’ that is all the people, according to him, has profound social, political, ethical and educational implications. For examples of resources are too scared to serve all, the question of who should served arises. An effective healthcare system must meet the needs that the people see as immediate and urgent. At the same time, the health services and facilities must get to the communities and homes and influence patterns of life, the construction of dwellings, the protection of water, the delivery of babies, the feeding of children and the size of families. Whatever considerations, the obvious fact is that the increasing cost of medical care is posing a serious threat to the individual, family, state and the nation as a whole.
The concept of health, keeps before governments and the public the understanding that health is not something that can be achieved exclusively by the traditional health services, it is profoundly influenced by conditions of life. The provision of healthcare facilities varies from country to country. In America for instance, there are voluntary hospitals and other establishments owned by philanthropic organisations. There are also private establishment run on a commercial basis, and municipal, state and federal establishment for those unable to afford other forms of care.
In Nigeria, government has on various occasions adopted different healthcare plans, most of which did not achieve their intended objectives for a number of reasons. The first of such health plans was Harken Waller 10 years plan. This was 3-action programme with basic strategies being
- Provision of portable water in sufficient quantities for every one.
- Progressive promotion of environmental hygiene and
- Expansion of hospitals, maternities, child welfare and dispensary services. This followed by the 1st National Development Plan of 1962 – 1968, which was since mainly at: -.
- Improving the health situation in the country
- Priority was given to the training of medical manpower and construction of medical centre e.g. maternities, dispensaries and hospitals.
The second National Development Plan was meant to be an improvement on the 1st National Plan after the post civil war economy and wide spread of malnutrition.
In 1975, a 3rd National Development Plan was set up and was regarded as the National Basis Health Services scheme (NBHSS), which was designed with the assistance of the WHO. Based on primary Healthcare. This was designed to:
- To increase the coverage of medical services
- To ensure community mobilization and participation in providing health services,
- The use of simple and relevant medical technology appropriate to each community.
- For preventive measures.
This was a more positive step to provision of basic healthcare facilities to the people, although problems were also encountered which gave rise to 4th National Development Plan in 1981. This was designed as an integrated primary healthcare system. In 1986, therefore the Federal Ministry of Health adopted a strategy from implementing THE HEALTH FOR ALL BY THE YEAR 2010 in which Nigeria is divided into 4 zones and each zone by a zonal coordinator.
In spite of all those plans and acceptance of the concept of healthcare, there is continued in-balance in the distribution and utilization by healthcare facilities especially among rural folk. Based on this therefore, this study is aimed at finding out the causes of non-utilization of modern healthcare facilities among Akpulu community. The study also focuses on the correlation between the people’s level of education and knowledge towards the understanding of healthcare.
Most members of Akpulu community are ignorant of environmental sanitation cultural belief, family planning, malnutrition and mostly, the traditional medicine men dominated the rural communities and these exercise create influence on the communities. The poor situation had with an alarming high rate of mortality. It is these problems that accused the researcher interest in finding out factors responsible for non-utilization of available healthcare facilities.
FACTORS INFLUENCING THE UTILIZATION OF MODERN HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The utilization of public health facilities is a serious problem among rural areas especially Akpulu community where the present study was carried out. Despite improvement in medical and healthcare services all over the world, problem of healthcare still persists in the area. This is because medical and healthcare faculties are more concentrated in the towns, making these facilities inaccessible in terms of distance to the rural populace and even the urban dwellers that live in slum areas. In rural community, where the majority of our people live and work, health facilities are rare, poverty is rife and scientific thought and action are unknown. As a result of little or no medical facilities, there is high incidence of mortality among infant and elderly people in the rural areas like Akpulu, hence the study.
This study is however the survey of those factors responsible for non-utilization of modern healthcare facilities in Akpu