Geneva Health Forum Archive

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Inequity in Utilizing of Healthcare Services by Infertile Patients in Nigeria

Author(s): T. M. Ola1
Affiliation(s): 1Research and Documentation, Centre for Population and Health Research, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
Keywords: Infertility, healthcare systems, health inequity

Health inequity refers to health inequalities that are unjust according to some theories of social justice and is represented by inequalities in health status, healthcare utilization and healthcare financing. Infertility is a stigmatized health condition which has been relatively neglected as both a health problem and a subject for social science research. Few studies have been done to assess socio – economic inequities in health in Nigeria.


The purpose of the study was to assess socio-economic inequities in infertility management services in the three healthcare systems in Nigeria (that is traditional, orthodox and spiritual healthcare systems). The study employed a triangulation method of data collection. 152 infertile patients male and female were interviewed at the various healthcare systems where they were currently receiving treatment. Information was sought on their socio-economic and demographic status and use of the 3 healthcare systems in the management of their infertility. Analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11. Information collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were transcribed verbatim.


About 90.1% and 9.9% were females and males respectively. Majority of the respondents (41.4%) were currently receiving treatment from the faith healing healthcare system followed by 22.4% currently utilizing orthodox healthcare system. However, majority of the respondents (37.5%) first chose orthodox medicine for the management of the infertility. They later opted out for reasons ranging from the quality of care, financial and physical accessibility, unfavourable outcomes, and efficacy of services provided by the different treatment providers. The Assisted Reproductive Technology comes at a cost which makes it non-affordable to majority of the respondents with irreversible form of infertility.

Lessons learned:

In Nigeria, inequity exists in the management of infertility. Equity or fairness involves a focus on the distributive impact of health policies and programmes on different individuals and families. Such evidence for health inequities in the management of infertility should inform such programmes aimed at making infertility treatment affordable and accessible so that they include strategic components aimed specifically at keeping inequality to a minimum.

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