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Would expected hyper-inflation induced generalized healthcare price increases in Nigeria reduce facility patronage? Prediction using experience of Onitsha based private dental clinic

Emmanuel C. Enemchukwu


Background: Expected hyper-inflation following diminished proceeds from crude oil and drastic devaluation of the currency, will ultimately raise healthcare prices in Nigeria. Financial experts have predicted bleak economic future and private healthcare practitioners are worried about the prospect of empty consulting rooms.

Objective: To investigate the effect of hyper-inflation induced generalized healthcare price increases on facility patronage using past hyper-inflation experience of Onitsha based dental clinic.

Method: Data concerning treatment prices, registration fees and dental services rendered from 1996 to 2005 were collected from the clinic’s diaries and record books using self-devised Data Collection Schedule Form. Nigeria was then reeling under resonating hyper-inflation associated with crude oil price tumble of late 1970’s. Analysis was by frequency, grand mean and inferential statistics of Spearman Rank Order Correlation Coefficient.

Result: There was no significant relationship between hyper-inflation period healthcare patronage and unit treatment prices or with registration fees when increases were based on fair pricing.

Conclusion: Though superimposed recession depresses businesses, appropriate pricing involving generalized healthcare price increases per se would not significantly reduce previous pattern of healthcare facility patronage during the inflationary period in Nigeria. This prediction is on the understanding that a careful combination of caution, proper business practices, altruism, rapport and other patient friendly considerations guide healthcare private practice.

Keywords: Unit treatment price, Appropriate pricing, Corner-cutting, Healthcare shopping

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 3027-2890
print ISSN: 1115-0521