Mobile clinic services to serve rural populations in Katsina State, Nigeria: perceptions of services and patterns of utilization
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Peters, G., Doctor, H., Afenyadu, G., Findley, S. & Ager, A. (2014) Mobile clinic services to serve rural populations in Katsina State, Nigeria: perceptions of services and patterns of utilization, Health Policy and Planning, vol. 29, , pp. 642-649,
Introduction Topographical, cultural, socio-economic and developmental factors combine to create significant barriers to health services delivery in areas of Northern Nigeria, resulting in poor health outcomes in states such as Katsina. The Katsina State Ministry of Health has introduced a mobile clinic service to provide primary health care to particularly inaccessible communities. This study reports early evidence of beneficiary and provider perceptions of the service, and indicators of initial coverage. Methods Key informant interviews were held with community leaders and service providers from communities receiving mobile clinic services from across six local government areas (LGAs), selected to represent diversity of conditions across the state. Exit interviews were conducted with 455 service users across three sites. Data on utilization were collated from routine service records and from a survey of a representative sample of households across the six LGAs. Results Beneficiaries reported high levels of satisfaction with respect to most aspects of the mobile clinic service. However, there was significant variation in ratings of service quality. Concerns for beneficiaries included the lack of privacy provided, waiting times and lack of guidance on follow-up care. Providers of the service reported high levels of satisfaction with the work, highlighting the reach of services and the teamwork involved. Antenatal care (ANC) coverage of 30% of pregnant women-well above the average for the northern states-was achieved in one LGA, though much lower rates were secured elsewhere. Discussion Data indicate that while services are generally well-received there are clear opportunities for strengthening quality of service provision. Improved service supervision and monitoring-potentially linked to performance-based financing mechanisms-promise to raise general quality of care to that demonstrated as attainable in the best performing LGAs. Provider reports suggesting high levels of motivation are notable in a general healthcare work environment with high rates of absenteeism.