Health Care System


There are three tiers of Health Care Systems in Nigeria – The Primary Health Care: which is close to the people and is constitutionally the responsibility of Local Government. The Secondary Health Care, which aims at challenges that cannot be handled at the PHC level and are delivered in general or district hospital under the supervision of the State Government, with the Tertiary Health Care, which is more sophisticated and costly for Government and Patients. The Tertiary Health Services deals with the most difficult cases referred from Secondary Health Care System to Teaching and Specialist Hospitals and are supervised by the Federal Ministry of Health.

The challenge at the primary level is to establish a health care system that will positively affect the lives of the citizenry and tackle ill-health conditions that causes the highest mortality and morbidity. The system must be organised from the grassroots and woven into the fabric of the Community through the process of Community Participation. It must integrate preventive, promotive, as well as curative services using the type of technology the community will accept, at the level it can afford to maintain and with an efficient and effective system of supervision and referral. The most important principle of PHC, as defined at Alma - Ata in 1978, is Community Participation. It coincides with the present administration’s thrust to mobilize the nation for social justice, self - reliance and economic reconstruction.

In the spirit of social justice and equity, the Federal Government is determined to set in motion the process that will ensure that every Nigerian obtain the Health Services he or she needs, when and where it is needed at a cost the Community can afford. It is also determined to ensure that the people participate fully in the provisions of services, this means that at the village or district level the community must be involved in Planning, Implementation, and Managing the system, which must be under its control.

Another Important principle is that of self-reliance, because the health problems of community cannot be solved at once owing to the lack of financial, human materials, or other resources. Therefore, there is a need to go at a pace that takes their condition into account, as long as there is a demonstrable reduction in morbidity and an improvement in the quality of life. Underlying the development in the health care delivery system in the past 20 years is the realisation that there is no standard method of designing and delivering health services. For example, it is now widely accepted that a community need not wait until a doctor is available before services can be delivered. Many communities throughout the world are being served by categories of health manpower down to the level of village health worker with excellent community acceptance and satisfaction and a measurable impact on the diseases that most afflict them.