Background of the Study
Health services in higher institutions are to provide and qualitative treatment, adequate and appropriate information and education about health. Students are not only concerned about their health but also feel susceptible concerning areas of their health and need intervention World Health Organization (WHO, 2013). Unfortunately, in some places, services available and provided are not being utilized are expected for various reasons.
Although, undergraduates majority of who are youths are vulnerable, the tendency to overlook young people’s health by policy makers is high (Feldman, 2012; Kecfe, 2011). More than 2.6 million young people aged 10-24 die each year, mostly due to preventable or treatable causes (Patton, 2009). The situation is worse in sub-sharan African and South East Asia where two-thirds of all deaths of young people occur (Patton, 2009; Blum, 2009). In Nigeria, youths form a significance integral component of her population. Young people’s heath that undergraduate represent should be given adequate and appropriate attention it serves. Youths are the leaders of future and should be treasured with efforts to eliminate as much barriers to attaining their potentials as they transit. One way is to encourage young people to utilize the available services in time of ill-health as this reduces emergency use and hospitalization (Santelliet, 1986; Young, 2001).
Utilization of health services has both short and long-term benefits. McNallet reported that as various acute illness and stress were treated among students that utilize school health centre, they were noticed to have strong academic performance, healthy mind and body. According to UNFPA, about two-third of the total diseases burden in adults are associated with conditions that began in their youth. For instance, utilization of health centre encourages early diagnosis of conditions such as chronic kidney disease which has been reported to be prevalent among the productive age group in Nigeria (Bamigboye, 2006). With, good utilization of health facilities, many chronic diseases could be diagnosed early with progression delayed or halted (Barker, 1994; Barbi & Velpel, 2005; Finch & Crimmins, 2004).
Health care utilization is influenced by predisposing, needs and enabling factors Anderson (1995) and Webber (2003). Need generates the purpose of utilization. People view health and use the services available differently. Symptoms that are more severe are seen as conditions that would need medical attention, whereas condition that unpredictable course are usually, hereto, wrongly considered as not needing medical attention Anderson and Foster (1980), Wade (2008), Narrow (2000). Health beliefs from socio-cultural perspectives and background could have either positive or negative influence on health seeking. The location of the facility, premises, opening hours, and complicated bureaucratic procedures, attitudes of staff and quality of the care and all organizational processes that can affect utilization of health facility (Patton, 2009). The assessment of the available health facilities as it creates for improvement in service delivery. Thus, this study is designed to know the behavioral pattern and identify the factors that influence undergraduate in the utilization of health care facility available within the institution.
A lot of efforts have been geared toward realizing that the quality of life is as much a concern as life than health care is a right rather than a privileged. This is the view of the developing nations and such is the attitude towards healthcare services in these countries. The present concern in both developed and developing countries is not only to reach the whole population with adequate health care services but to provide health services that are affordable by the population. Health for all however, is not a single finite target’. It is a process leading to a progressive improvement in the health of people, to whom the government has committed itself (Picket, 1997).
Health care is a social service with the socio-economic importance, which is paramount to the growth and the development of the individual and the nation at large. Hence it’s important that the health care provided must be quantitatively and qualitatively suitable so as to meet the health need of the people (Ayeni, 1997). The provision of quantitative and qualitative health care rest on the availability of funds. The establishment and development of health care services rest on some factors such as geographical location, cultural, social and political background. However, two other factors that determine the thriving of good health services provided are availability of enough qualified and unquestionable manpower (Human resources) or inadequate fund (Ademiju, 2003).
According to Achalu and Achalu (1999) the protection and care of the health of students and school personnel is very vital, hence the introduction of school health care services. However, the protection and promotion of health is
ultimately an individual responsibility. For example, if a person is well informed about the causes of gonorrhea, he we still be a victim of it, if he fails to protect himself against it. Similarly, if the government makes available health services, the person will not be healthy until he makes use of these services. A person must therefore work for health before he can be healthy. Schools bring together a large number of students and staff more than the any work place. It is important therefore for a system to be put in place to handle first aid, medical emergencies, detecting contagious infections that could spread from an infected person to a person who is not infected.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka Ikere Campus Ekiti State caters for the health needs of the university community and offers preventive health services. Some of the services provided include.
- Daily consultation and emergencies
- Annual medical examination for new students and employee
iii. X-ray service
- iv. Environmental sanitation services
- Family planning clinics
- Ante-natal clinic
vii. Child welfare clinic (immunization)
The concept of investing money in the provision of health care facilities in school with the aim of improving the standard of student’s health is laudable but must be reviewed. This is because the effectiveness of such health care services provided would be determined by the effective use of the facility by those it was meant to serve (Ademlju, 2003).
There are many factors that can affect the utilization of the health care centre by the undergraduate students in the schools. As opined by Borroficc, Idowu and Adeogun (2003) ease of access and understanding of staff will determine to a large extent the utilization of health care services. They further asserted that many parents would appreciate the convenience that having health
care in school will bring. Another factor that can affect the rate of utilization of the school’s health centre is the fact that the school is non-residential. The cost of services, method of registration, time of consultation, responsiveness of the personnel to the students the population of registered students against the number of available doctor and nurses and the standard of the equipment of the centre can affect the utilization of the health care centre to find out whether the undergraduate students of UNN Ikere Campus utilize the health centre in the school and also look at these factors that influence the student’s decision to the use the health centre and the standard of the health services provided.
Statement of the problem
The availability and utilization of healthcare services to every community in Nigeria is very essential. This is because without adequate healthcare services and the proper utilization of same, the health care of the people will be in jeopardy and will no doubt affect grossly productivity and national income. Availability of healthcare services and utilization promote and protect the health of the individual as well as prevent the spread of diseases and other ailment that may affect the people. When the healthcare services are adequately available and utilized by the people, it helps in improving their health status, thereby reducing ill-health among the people, and this improves efficiency and productivity. Many researchers have been conducted in other areas in respect to healthcare services but there are fewer on tertiary institutions, this then call for the need of this research.
Every society needs the best healthcare services for her people. The tertiary institution cannot be left out of this noble course. As a matter of fact, the tertiary institutions need torn play a leading role in the provision of healthcare services to the people because of the enlightened nature of these institutions and the belief that they should be more health conscious because of their knowledge. It is not,enough to make healthcare services available to the people but that the people’should be able to utilize the services available. The utilization by the people ‘makes it possible for the objective of the availability of these services to be achieved. Utilization of these services cannot be possible if these services are unacceptable and beyond the reach of the people. It is because of these that this study thrusts to evaluate the availability and utilization of healthcare services in UNN Ikere Campus.