Distribution and Utilization of Health Facilities in Calabar Metropolis, Nigeria
The study examined the distribution and utilization of health facilities in Calabar metropolis, Nigeria. The overall aim was to determine the level of accessibility and utilization of health care services in the area, in terms of locational pattern, service distribution and effective utilization. Data for the study were derived from hospital records and structured questionnaire. The simple random sampling technique was used in the selection of twelve wards and hospitals for study. A total of 420 copies of the questionnaire were distributed to the twelve council wards. The accessibility index was computed to determine physical accessibility by distance (ward by ward); this was then used to correlate with the number of health care facilities in the area using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Analysis. The correlation showed that access to health facilities positively and highly significantly correlated with utilization (rxy = 0.63; p< 0.05). Multiple regression of the effects of distance, income education and occupation on utilization of health care services yielded a coefficient of multiple determination (r2) of 0.602. The result further shows that about 10% of those who obtained care from the health centers were conceivably influenced by distance, income, education and occupation. However, out of the five explanatory variables, educational background was not significant but four of the variables (distance to teaching hospital, distance to general hospital, income level and occupation) contributed significantly to access to medical facilities. The level of accessibility increases with increasing utilization. Distance was a barrier to the utilization of health facilities due to the uneven distribution of health facilities and the inability of patients to overcome economic distance. Greater investment by government in the health sector would guarantee more equitable access to health services for the citizens.