FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST THE EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF UNIVERSITY HEALTH FACILITY BY STAFF AND STUDENTS
Background of the Study
Good health is the basis on which social progress is built. A nation needs to promote good health status of her citizens in order to be productive and contribute positively to its development and progress of the country. In order to protect and promote the health of the individual, there should be availability of Healthcare Services for the protection, promotion and maintenance of the health of the individual as well as the treatment of diseases and ailments. All these can only be achieved if there are effective healthcare services for the people. These services if available and utilized will help in eliminating or reducing the health problems of the people in any given community. Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 1947) is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In order to be healthy, one needs to have access to the necessary healthcare services. Health is said to be a state of wellness, it is dynamic and ever changing and not a static entity. It is the primary responsibility of everyone to promote and maintain his/her health status, which can be achieved through various means, like regular medical checkup, prompt treatment of diseases and disorders, eating of nutritious food, taking of vaccinations against various diseases, maintaining a good lifestyle and engaging in physical activities. However, in order to protect, promote and prevent diseases, it is necessary for adequate healthcare services to be available as the services can improve the health status of the people if and only when utilized adequately. The health status of people in tertiary institutions should be of concern to the authorities that established such institutions. The need to protect the health of such people then calls for the establishment of healthcare services in tertiary institutions in Nigeria to cater for their health needs. The main purpose of any healthcare service is to meet the health needs of the people. Access to good health services should be a right of all citizens and not a privilege. The availability of adequate healthcare services to people should be a fundamental function of the government. The adequate availability of healthcare services is a manifestation of the interest the government has on the promotion and maintenance of health of the people. According to Edson (2001), the University is committed to promoting, maintaining and improving the health and well being of the university community. That this mission can be accomplished by making available healthcare services that are appropriate, accessible, convenient and cost effective and by teaching the people healthcare conservation, illness prevention and health promotion. Healthcare services are those services that are rendered by the professional health workers and auxiliary staff to those in need in order to protect, promote and maintain the health of the individual as well as preventing individual health from breaking down (Keywood, 1998). The need for effective health services in tertiary institutions is very obvious. Good health services enhance efficiency of staff members because any minor ill health problem that comes up is adequately taken care of. There is no group whose health is more important to the society than that of a group which makes up the staff and student of a school. There is constant interaction between staff and students. The health of the staff directly affects the health of the students. Debilitating sickness of a staff member reduces the effectiveness to teach and thus prevents students from obtaining full value from their school experience. Equally, such a disease could be transferred to students if communicable. According to Lee, Tsang, Lee and To (2003) good healthcare services need to be made available for the students to take care of their health so that they could achieve the goal of being in school. The students are a vibrant group whose health needs adequate care. They are a group of people still growing fast and everything should be done to protect their health. Most of the students are at the peak of their productive years and as such, they need adequate care of their health in order to meet their aspiration in life as well as to help build the society in which they find themselves. Most students in tertiary institutions are within the age range of 20-28 years. There is the need to take adequate care of the health of both staff and students because these people live together with others within the community. People that live together either in schools and military camps are prone to and likely to suffer from communicable diseases if there is an outbreak of any disease. As such, the school should make available healthcare services for prevention and control of such diseases. Health is said to be a state of wellness, it is dynamic and ever changing and not a static entity.This is possible through various means. In order to protect, promote the health of every individual and to prevent diseases, it is then necessary for adequate healthcare services and the utilization of these services. The health services are both staff and student focused and should be provided in accuracy and professional manner. “According to Iorvaa (2012), health is a major determinate of the social economic development of a people. These is based on the fact that all human endeavors require sound minds in sound bodies for full realization of aspirations.” The realization of the full aspiration by an individual in terms of health can be achieved through making available effective healthcare services and adequate utilization of same.
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.
The health care system in Nigeria has a blend of private and public health care providers. In the public sector health care providers are under the three tiers of government; federal (tertiary hospitals and some hospitals in federal institutions like universities), state (state specialist and general hospitals) and local government areas (primary health care centres and health posts). In the private sector, they are broadly categorized into those that provide primary care (general practitioners), those that provide secondary care and those that provide both primary and specialist care. There are also several non-governmental organizations and donor- owned and operated facilities. Unlike in many developed nations, health care in Nigeria is not universally free. According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health survey 2008, majority of women and men have no health insurance coverage (98 and 97 percent, respectively), which means they pay for health care from their pockets. (Goodman, 2004) Health care service consumers are therefore bound to make the choice of where to receive health care based on some factors. Typically, choice of health care providing facility is based on six types of information: quality of service provided, access to providers (both hospitals and physicians), out-of-pocket costs, health provider communication skills, courtesy, and administrative burden. However, patients perceptions of the quality of services provided is a key factor (along with cost effectiveness) in determining the use of the health care facility.
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.
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