Role of the private sector in the provision of rssential obstetric care in Abia

  • Christian C Ibeh
  • John EN Okonkwo PO Box 8282 Enugu, Nigeria


Objective: To examine the role of the private sector in the provision of essential obstetric care in Abia State, Southeastern Nigeria.

Method: A structured questionnaire following two workshops was used to seek information on the type of facility, ownership, type of services, number of staff, instruments and medical consumables, and data on clients attended to in the previous twelve months. On the basis of the response the facilities were classified into not essential obstetric care, basic essential obstetric care and comprehensive essential obstetric care.

Results: There were 638 facilities visited and only 378 offered antenatal and postnatal services. These were 13 government hospitals, 173 primary health centers 146 private hospitals/clinics and 46 private maternity homes. Broadly 186 were government and 192 were privately owned. 121 offered essential obstetric services: 42 basic and 79 comprehensive. Of the basic essential obstetric facilities that were private, 84.6% were concentrated in the 6 urban local government areas (LGA) leaving 15.4% in the 11 rural LGA. Similarly 85.6% of the comprehensive essential obstetric facilities that were private are concentrated in the 6urban LGA leaving 14.4% scattered in the 11 rural LGA.

Conclusion: The private sector has greater essential obstetric facilities, but these are concentrated mainly in the 6 urban LGA to the neglect of the other 11 LGA. With vision and goodwill, it should be possible to evenly distribute/have all government and private essential obstetric services into an efficient team in the interests of the pregnant women whose welfare they all seek to serve. One way by which the government can do this is to advance a lucrative rural insurance scheme, which will attract the private sector to the majority rural dwellers.

Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol. 22(2) 2005: 152-155

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eISSN: 0189-5117