The spatial distribution of health establishments in Nigeria

  • Ngozi M. Nwakeze Department of Economics, University of Lagos, Akoka Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala 2University of Warwick, Warwick Medical School, Division of Health Sciences; Populations, Evidence and Technologies Group, Warwick Evidence, CV4 7AL, Coventry, UK
Keywords: Nigerian economy, health care, health facilities, health policies and spatial distribution


The crisis in the health sector of Nigerian economy has been very obvious since the last decade. Unfortunately, no appreciable progress has been made in addressing the crisis and ensuring good health for the populace. One of the myriads of problems facing the Nigerian health system is llimited access to health facilities. The distortions in the Nigerian health sector arising from both vertical and horizontal inequalities have negative implications for the health care delivery system and in meeting the health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since health is wealth, and like a vicious cycle, the crisis in the health sector will depress the economy and thereby causing further widening inequalities in the system. This paper, therefore, examines the spatial distribution of health establishments in Nigeria with a view to ascertaining whether there is any imbalance. Using the 2007 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey of health establishment in Nigeria and the 2006 population census data, spatial statistical techniques were applied to the data. The Geographic Information System (GIS) software was used for data analysis. The results indicate that there are large inequalities in health care provision across the state, relative to the population size. The policy implication of this paper is that any effort aimed at improving the efficiency of the health care delivery system in Nigeria should ensure that health facilities are established relative to the structure of the population.