Capacity utilization of private medical facilities in Nigeria
BACKGROUND: Capacity utilization is a concept which refers to the extent which an enterprise actually uses its installed productive capacity. It refers to the relationship between actual output that is produced with the installed resources and the potential output which could be produced with these resources, if capacity was fully used.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the capacity utilization of private health facilities in Nigeria.
METHOD: The study was a descriptive cross sectional study done between March and October 2012 in 20 registered state branches of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN). Seven hundred questionnaires were distributed to participants and 582 responses were received. Analysis was by Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.
RESULTS: A total of 582 respondents completely filled and returned the questionnaires. Most of the participants 509 (87.5%) were aged between 40 to 64 years with a mean age of 53.2 years. More than four fifths of the respondents 546 (93.8%) were males with only 36 (6.2%) females. Majority of the participants 489 (84.2%) were general practitioners. Qualification of most of them, 496 (85.4%) was bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree (MBBS) while only 85 (14.6%) participants had fellowship.
A large number of respondents 543 (93.3%) have less than 5 doctors in their employment with close to two fifths, 223 (38.4%) having only one doctor. About a third of the facilities 198 (34.3%) have no specialist doctor covering their facilities. Half of the facilities have 1-5 nurse/midwives and only a few 81 (14.2%) have less than 5 beds. About four fifths 453 (79.2%) work at less than 50% capacity. Daily patient turn out of most of the facilities 546 (93.8%) was less than 50 patients. More than two thirds of the facilities 358 (62.7%) have less than 10 deliveries each month and more than half of the facilities 300 (52.8%) have less than 5 surgeries per month. About two fifths of facilities 193 (43.3%) do less than 100 laboratory tests per month and of the facilities that have scanning machines, about half 194 (51.5%) do less than 50 scans monthly.
Less than two thirds of the studied facilities 342 (59.5%) have been accredited by the National Health Insurance Scheme. Out of these facilities, close to half 157 (46.3%) have less than 100 enrolees. Majority of the facilities 346 (60.6%) made less than 5 referrals to specialist centres and most of them 438 (79.2%) were located within four kilometres from a public health institution.
CONCLUSION: The capacity utilization of private health facilities in Nigeria was poor.
KEY WORDS: Capacity utilization, health facilities, private medical practitioners in Nigeria.