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This study was aimed at analyzing health care facilities and human resources in Kaura Local
Government Area, Kaduna State, Nigeria, using Geographic Information System. To achieve this, GPS was used to obtain the coordinates of the healthcare facilities; a check list was also used to obtain attribute data in each of the facility. Documentary data were obtained from textbooks, journals, the internet, theses, seminar papers, report and existing map of Kaura Local Government Area. According to the 2006 National population census, Kaura Local Government Area has population of 222,579 people. Mapping was done to show the distribution of facilities within the 10 political wards while a database was created and queried, simple percentage was used to analyze the data. The study shows that there is at least more than one facility in each of the ward with only 3 among the 10 wards having medical doctors. There is only 1 secondary healthcare facility in the area located in Kaura ward and is the only healthcare facility with 2 doctors. The research reveals that there is disparity in the spatial distribution of healthcare facilities while the population to facility ratio shows that population was not considered as a basis for the distribution of healthcare facilities in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Nigeria, thus suggesting the possibility of overcrowding in some of the healthcare centres. The study recommended that both Kaduna State and Kaura Local Government should adopt population threshold as a yardstick for health care facility distribution as this is the only approach to ensure equity and social justice in distribution of health care and other basic facilities.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the
absence of disease or infirmity (Jiva, 2013). Many people do not realize the importance of
good health, and even if they do, they may still disregard it. Sound health is a fundamental
requirement for living a socially and economically productive life. Poor health inflicts great
hardships on households, including debilitation, substantial monetary expenditures, loss of
labor and sometimes death (Titus, Adebisola and Adeniji, 2015). The necessity of good
health is not limited to a particular set of people, bringing good health care systems and
information closer to the people is important.
A health system is referred to as the organization of people, institutions and resources to
deliver health care services that will meet the health needs of a target population. It is also
the prevention, treatment of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being
through the services offered by the medical and allied health professional. In another,
perspective health care is also considered as the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of
disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Health
care is delivered by practitioners in allied health, dentistry, midwifery-obstetrics, medicine,
nursing, optometry, pharmacy, psychology and other care providers. It refers to the work
done in providing primary, secondary, and tertiary care, as well as in public health (Medical
Dictionary, 2007; PATH 2, 2014; WHO, 2010).
Busu (2009) explained that health care systems are designed to meet the health care need of
target population, stressing that there is a wide variety of health care systems around the 1
world. In some countries, the health care system has evolved and has not been planned,
whereas in others a concerted effort has been made by governments, trade unions, charities,
religious or other coordinated bodies to deliver planned health care services targeted to the
population they serve.
Accessibility is a relative nearness and approachability of one place to another. It suggests the
ease of reaching a destination from an origin (Jaro, 1999). Accessibility could also be
concerned with the opportunity that an individual at a given location possesses to participate
in a particular activity or set of activities or represents the ease with which activities may be
reached from a given location by means of a particular transportation system. It is usually
measured in terms of travel distance, time or cost. The less time and money spent in travel,
the more activities that can be reached in a given amount of time and the greater the
accessibility (Zhu and Liu, 2004).
Access to healthcare system is difficult to define. It is a multidimensional process that in
addition to the quality of care, involves geographical accessibility, availability of the right
type of care for those who need it, financial accessibility, and acceptability of service.
Geographic accessibility, the distance that must be traveled in order to use health facility,
may present an important barrier of access to healthcare. Access to healthcare facilities is a
significant factor that contributes to a healthy population and an important component of an
overall healthcare system and has a direct impact on the burden of diseases that affects many
countries, especially in the developing world (Al-Taiaret, Allan, Joseph, and Witty, 2010).
Accessibility to healthcare facilities has been measured in different ways, depending on the
context of the application, particularly in health care system and planning. Halden,
McGuigan, Nisbet and McKinnon (2000) view accessibility to healthcare as the ability of a
population to obtain a specified set of health care services. In this context, geographic
accessibility is often referred to as spatial or physical accessibility. Physical accessibility
addresses the complex relationship between the distribution of the population and the supply
of healthcare facilities (Ebener, Ray, Black and El Morjani, 2005). Spatial accessibility to
healthcare refers to the ease with which residents of a given area can reach medical services
and facilities (Hewko, Smoyer-Tomic, and Hodgson, 2002).
The availability and access to health care varies across countries, groups, and individuals,
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