Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care

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Knowledge and utilization of referral system among health care workers in selected primary health care centres in Oyo State, Nigeria

O.M. Oluseye, D.R. Kehinde, O Akingbade, O.L. Ogunlade, O.O. Onyebigwa, O.A. Oluwatosin


Background: Referral system is one of the strategies in place across all levels of health care settings for adequate use of health care resources and services. This study assessed the knowledge and utilization of referral system among health care workers in selected Primary Health Care (PHC) centers in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Methods: This study was a descriptive study that utilized structured questionnaire to collect data. Simple random sampling was used to select eighty-eight health workers from thirteen selected Primary Health Care Centers. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Sixty-six (75.0%) of the respondents indicated that there are three levels of health care system. Sixty–two (93.2%) health care workers knew that referral system can be from lower to higher level of care and 61 (69.3%) knew that referral system can be from higher to lower level of care. Only 21 (23.9%) of the respondents refer patients frequently and 66 (75.1%) of them mostly refer to secondary health care facility. Factors identified by respondents as influencing utilization of referral system included distance of one facility to another 74 (84.1%) social support 71 (80.7%) and availability of referral forms 70 (79.6%).

Conclusion: Good knowledge of referral system was demonstrated by the participants; however, the implementation of the process was poor. It is vital that future studies should explore identified factors since a functional referral system is vital for effective health care system.

Keywords: Knowledge, Utilization, Referral System, Health care workers, Primary Health Care Centres

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