Strengthening primary healthcare through community involvement in Cross River State, Nigeria: a descriptive study
Introduction: In preparation for implementation of primary healthcare (PHC) services in Cross River State, a study to identify perceptions of communities and health systems concerning such interventions was conducted. Methods: Existing PHC practices were documented through observation and document reviews, including facility checklists at frontline levels. Perceptions of consumers and providers on PHC were elucidated through 32 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 78 semi-structured questionnaires. Results: There was some level of implementation of the Nigerian PHC policy in the study districts. However, this policy emphasized curative instead of preventive services. Private partners perceived healthcare programmes as largely donor driven with poor release of allocations for health by government. Conclusion: Both providers and consumers presented similar perceptions on the current PHC implementation and similar perspectives on services to be prioritized. These common views together with their on-going participatory experience are important platforms for strengthening community participation in the delivery of PHC.
Key words: Primary Health Care, Community directed Interventions, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, Cross River State