FACTORS AFFECTING HEALTH WORKERS ABSENCE IN RURAL AREAS OF EKITI STATE
Background to the study.
The shortage of healthcare professionals in rural communities remains an intractable problem that poses a serious challenge to equitable healthcare delivery. Both developed and developing countries report geographically skewed distributions of healthcare professionals, favouring urban and wealthier areas (Wilson, Couper & De Vries, 2009). Rural communities are on the average poorer, less educated and have higher disease burden; they also have worse access to health care than people in urban areas (Wilson, Reid, Fish, & Marais, 2009).
This discrepancy between health care needs and service provision has been captured by Hart’s ‘inverse care law’, which states that those with the greatest health needs usually have the worst access to healthcare services (Flament, 2012). Rapid urbanization is a global phenomenon but it also poses particular health problems in developing countries with poor infrastructural development (Wilson, Reid, Fish & Marais, 2009). Improved access to healthcare should therefore be seen as an indicator of the level of development of any nation.
Statement of problem
Survey report has shown that more than 75% of Nigerian population live in rural areas and are left at the mercy of untrained personnel (Demographic and health survey, 2007). Studies have also shown that the five commonest causes of maternal and child mortality is preventable in most cases with the presence of qualified and skilled attending health
personnel (WHO, 2006).
With a population of more than 140 million people (National Population Commission [NPC], 2007), Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. The latest estimates also put life expectancy in Nigeria at 44 years (NPC 2007). Seventy two (72) % of the urban population and just forty nine (49) % of rural population have access to safe drinking water.
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