Author(s): Andrew G Onokerhoraye
Public policy on health care provision in Nigeria over the years addresses the distribution and spatial equity question mainly at the gross or at best regional level betraying its rather narrow conceptualization of the issue of distribution.This paper uses both cartographic and geographic information techniques to examine the spatial pattern of health care delivery facilities in one part of the oil producing region of Nigeria which in recent years has been characterized by violence as a result of perceived deprivation in the provision of social services by the people.The location of tertiary,secondary and primary health care services in the eight local government areas of Bayelsa state is presented against the background of the pattern of population and setttlement location. The study also examined the utilization pattern of the available services by a sample of households in three of the local government areas. The findings show that the available health care facilities in the state are concentrated in the northern part of the state where the population density is lower largely because it is the upland part of the state.Conversely the central and southern part of the state where population and settlement density are higher, there are limited health care facilities located in them.The inaccessibility of the available health care facilities has obviously affected the utilization of modern health care services by a vast proportion of the people in the state who still depend on traditional medical care and self medication.The paper concludes by recommending a policy of deliberate dispersal of health care services to the central and southern parts of the state where there are no facilities at present. It was also suggested that the community members should be trained to provide the needed staff in the primary health centers located in the smaller settlements.