Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

School

Public Health

Advisor

Michael Schwab

Abstract

Access to primary medical care and prevention services in Nigeria is limited, especially in rural areas, despite national and international efforts to improve health service delivery. Using a conceptual framework developed by Penchansky and Thomas, this case study explored the perceptions of community residents and healthcare providers regarding residents' access to primary healthcare services in the rural area of Isu. Using a community-based research approach, semistructured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 27 participants, including government healthcare administrators, nurses and midwives, traditional healers, and residents. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi's 7-step method for qualitative data analysis. Key findings included that (a) healthcare is focused on children and pregnant women; (b) healthcare is largely ineffective because of insufficient funding, misguided leadership, poor system infrastructure, and facility neglect; (c) residents lack knowledge of and confidence in available primary healthcare services; (d) residents regularly use traditional healers even though these healers are not recognized by local government administrators; and (e) residents can be valuable participants in community-based research. The potential for positive social change includes improved communication between local government, residents, and traditional healers, and improved access to healthcare for residents.