How ready is the system to deliver primary healthcare? Results of a primary health facility assessment in Enugu State, Nigeria

Adanma Ekenna, Ijeoma Uchenna Itanyi, Ugochukwu Nwokoro, Lisa R. Hirschhorn, Benjamin Uzochukwu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Primary health centres are an effective means of achieving access to primary healthcare (PHC) in low- and middle-income countries. We assessed service availability, service readiness and factors influencing service delivery at public PHC centres in Enugu State, Nigeria. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 60 randomly selected public health centres in Enugu using the World Health Organization's Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) survey. The most senior health worker available was interviewed using the SARA questionnaire, and an observational checklist was used for the facility assessment. None of the PHC centres surveyed had all the recommended service domains, but 52 (87%) offered at least half of the recommended service domains. Newborn care and immunization (98.3%) were the most available services across facilities, while mental health was the least available service (36.7%). None of the surveyed facilities had a functional ambulance or access to a computer on the day of the assessment. The specific-service readiness score was lowest in the non-communicable disease (NCD) area (33% in the rural health centres and 29% in the urban health centres) and NCD medicines and supplies. Availability of medicine and supplies was also low in rural PHC centres for the communicable disease area (36%) and maternal health services (38%). Basic equipment was significantly more available in urban health centres (P = 0.02). Urban location of facilities and the presence of a medical officer were found to be associated with having at least 50% of the recommended infrastructure / basic amenities and equipment. Continuing medical education, funding and security were identified by the health workers as key enablers of service delivery. In conclusion, despite a focus on expanding primary care in Enugu State, significant gaps exist that need to be closed for PHC to make significant contributions towards achieving universal healthcare, core to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goal agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)I97-I106
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Assessment
  • Drug provision
  • Essential drugs
  • Health facilities
  • Health system reform
  • Health systems
  • Primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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