Policy Value and Primary Healthcare Delivery in Rural Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities

Policy Value and Primary Healthcare Delivery in Rural Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities

Akhakpe Ighodalo
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6133-0.ch006
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The health of a people is a major social capital to be prioritized and optimized for the growth and development of any country. Therefore, any government desirous of development should make healthcare delivery one of the cornerstones of its policy on development. In pursuance of these goals, the purpose of this chapter is to examine the dominant policy value, particularly the failure to faithfully implement government policies and achieve set goals. The method applied in the study is participant observatory method, using the basic need theory (BNT) as theoretical framework of analysis. The findings revealed that policy values frustrate the attainment of sustainable primary healthcare delivery in Nigeria. Challenges were highlighted such as improper monitoring and evaluation of policies, inadequate funding, program implementation, and lack of skilled professionals. The chapter concludes by suggesting opportunities to open primary healthcare delivery in the rural areas.
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The greatest asset of any nation is its citizens. The quality and quantity of the human resource of a nation is essential for its growth and development. There is a sense in which one can assert that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Good health among the population of any country is considered a pre-requisite for the society to develop in the positive direction. Achieving this goal of good health for all is not always an easy task. Though with the right policies, plans and programs aimed at achieving these goals a healthy nation could be achieved if particularly, such objective is pursued with utmost commitment, dedication and integrity by all stakeholders in the health sector (Osakede & Ijimakinde, 2014).

Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, have a population that can be leveraged on to bring about the much-needed socio-economic development in this region of the world. Nigeria with a population of over 170 million people, has the potential to be one of the most developed countries in the world. However, these potentials have not been properly harnessed, invested and translated into sustainable development due perhaps to the poor healthcare system that has seen many Nigerians die from preventable and treatable diseases and ailments like malaria, Lassa fever, Zika virus, Ebola, monkey pox, polio meningitis, HIV/AIDS, among others (Idris, 2014). Also, the rate of maternal and child mortality has taken a frightening dimension due to the absence of vaccines and drugs to control and treat these ailments and diseases when they occur.

The main objective of the study, therefore, is to examine the role of policy value in primary healthcare delivery in rural Nigeria. Other specific objectives include:

  • 1.

    To examine the nature of primary healthcare services;

  • 2.

    To investigate the effect of policy value on primary healthcare delivery in rural areas, and;

  • 3.

    To examine challenges facing the use of public policy to achieve primary healthcare.



While successive governments have demonstrated knowledge of and intentions to tackle these healthcare issues, the government policy value or lack of it has inhibited any such intention to address. While annual budgets have given some attention to these concerns albeit insufficiently, the lack of policy integrity, corruption, failure to give adequate commitment to policy implementation and the parlous state of the economy, all combine to frustrate any positive move to make the health sector efficient and effective. These challenges are mostly felt in the rural areas where health facilities are either non-existent or ill equipped and far apart. The condition of rural dwellers is made worst by the fact that majority of them are living below the poverty line, thereby making them susceptible to attack from preventable diseases. Primary Heath Care (PHC) that is targeted at this category of people, hardly meet their needs due to the incapacitation of local governments by inadequate resources.

How these issues play out in the health sector in general and Primary Health Care sub-sector in particular, are not very clear. Hence, this study aims at investigating the interface between policy value and primary healthcare delivery with a view to making them work for the growth and sustainability of primary health care in the country. To address issues raised in the study, it is organized into the following sections. The first section engaged in literature review under which it engages in conceptual and theoretical exploration. The second, interrogated the nature of policy value and primary health care in the country. Third examined the state of policy values and healthcare system. The fourth discussed some steps taken by government through policy reforms and changes to improve generally the condition of the health sector. The fifth analyzed challenges facing PHC articulation, implementation and control. The sixth charted a roadmap for the PHC sub-sector and healthcare system in general.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Policy Value: This refers to the ideology that drives public policy in a given context, that is, Nigeria and the rural areas of the country.

Service Delivery: This is the provision of goods and services to the people efficiently and effectively to meet their needs for affordable and preventable healthcare.

Public Policy: The guide to action and activities of government towards its citizens.

Primary Healthcare: This refers to healthcare services that relates to the basic health needs of those living in the communities.

Basic Needs: These are essential services that should be provided by government such as food, shelter, education, healthcare, etc.

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