Effects of health-care services and commodities cost on the patients at the primary health facilities in Zaria Metropolis, North Western Nigeria
Introduction: The payment for health-care services is a major problem for many poor patients in developing nations. The aim of the study was to examine the cost of services and commodities and how these affect the patients who utilizes the primary health-care centers in Zaria, North western Nigeria.
Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional survey of six primary health-care facilities in Zaria metropolis, namely Baban dodo, Tudun Wada, Magajiya PHCs from Zaria local government areas (LGA) and Samaru, Kwata, and Dogarawa PHCs from Sabon Gari LGA, was carried out.
Result: The mean age of the respondents was 28.87± 8.63 years, most of them were married (53.3%), Hausa (63.3%), and Muslims (85.7%); also, they were unemployed housewives with daily stipends from their husbands less than 1 dollar/day. The major method for payment for health-care services was out of pocket (98.3%). More than one-third of the clients were not aware of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) (39%). There was a significant inverse relationship between the monthly income of the clients and the experience of financial stress and a positive association between patients’ monthly income and awareness of the NHIS (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The respondents were paying user fees for essential healthcare services at the primary health-care centers and this was not convenient for them.
Recommendation: There is a need for the LGA health department to intensify the supervision of the activities at the PHCs. Standardization of prices of services and commodities and the implementation of the National Health Act may alleviate the burdens of the poor community members who access PHCs in Nigeria.
Keywords: Commodities, National Health Act, primary health care, regulation, services