Perception and Utilization of Primary Health Care Services in a Semi-Urban Community in South-Western Nigeria
Objective: The health status of most people living in developing countries of the world remains poor. Linked to this are some factors, of which low utilization of PHC facilities remain a major issue. This study therefore aimed to determine the utilization of PHC services in a sub-urban community in a developing country in West Africa.
Design: The study was a descriptive cross sectional study conducted in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria. A multistage sampling technique was used to recruit adults above the age of 18 years, normally resident in the community. Three hundred and ninety five individuals were involved in this community-based study. Interview was conducted using semi-structured pre-tested questionnaire to obtain relevant information.
Result: Most (71.7%) of respondents were aware of PHC facilities in their communities and the most frequently mentioned health service provided was the immunization service. Three quarters of respondents felt that PHC services were accessible while over half (57.2%) felt it could address the disease burden in the community. Only 44.1% of them had ever-utilized any PHC health facility within the district. Respondents' age, sex, marital status, educational level and occupation are all significantly related to utilization status.
Conclusion: The study demonstrates high awareness level of the PHC system in the population studied; however, utilization of the facilities is still very low. We hereby recommend that managers of this health institution put in place programs and schemes that will facilitate more effective service delivery especially in relation to the workers in this health sector. In addition, orientation programs lauding the benefits of the PHC facilities to correct wrong opinions about PHC among local communities and creation of good access routes that link primary health centers to the communities should be on the priority list of the managers of PHC to enhance utilization of services.
Keywords: Perception, Utilization, Primary Health Care, Developing Countries