Public Health Project Topics

Problem of Mass Illiteracy and Public Health Care Services in Nigeria

Problem of Mass Illiteracy and Public Health Care Services in Nigeria

Problem of Mass Illiteracy and Public Health Care Services in Nigeria

Chapter One

Objective of the study

The objective of the study are;

The primary objective of this study is to comprehensively examine the intricate relationship between mass illiteracy and the provision of public health care services in Nigeria. The study aims to:

  1. Evaluate the Impact of Mass Illiteracy on Healthcare Access.
  2. Analyze Healthcare Utilization Patterns Among Illiterate Populations.
  3. Examine the Role of Public Health Care Services.
  4. Investigate Maternal and Child Health Disparities.




In the constitution of the World Health Organization, health is defined as a state of complete physical, menial and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (Jegede, 2010). Physical health is the overall condition ot a living organism at a given time. It involves the soundness of the body, freedom from disease or abnormality, and the condition of optimal well-being. Physical health could be determined by several factors. Genetic malfunctioning and environmental factors could account for the inability of human body to function as designed. Mental health has long existed as one of the major components


Primary Health Care has been identified as the most basic and probably most important aspect of healthcare because it touches the largest segment of the population-the poor, especially the rural dwellers. Primary Health Care (PHC) is an essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology, made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination‟10. The Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 evolved as a result of the challenges facing health care particularly at the primary health care level which if not addressed will hamper the realization of the goal of „Health for All‟. It aims at addressing the main health problems in the communities by providing promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. This triggered the restructuring of the Nigerian health system to align with the Alma Ata declaration-being one of the 134 signatory to the idea. The implementation of primary health care in Nigeria however varies based on the PHC type11. Taking cognizance of the aforementioned facts, the Nigerian government is strongly committed to strengthening the delivery of primary health care services to ensure universal coverage and access. This commitment is articulated in several frameworks such as the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency Minimum Package of Care, the Integrated Maternal, New-born and Child Health Strategy, the National Health Insurance Policy and the National Health Bill to mention a few12. Implementing these frameworks however, requires a collaborative effort of several ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), development partners and private sector in an integrated approach to meeting the needs of the Nigerian people, particularly those in (poor) rural areas where the health indices are relatively worse. Currently, the PHC system faces many challenges including funding constraints and ineffective management. PHC constitutionally is a responsibility of the 3rd tier of government (Local Government Area). However,due to the skewed federal allocation system in the country, poor funding of the LGAs in addition to the fact that successive local government administrators have not been prioritizing healthcare, the PHCs have been left unattended to. The identified problems notwithstanding, the provision of quality healthcare is a social responsibility of the Government and any inadequacy at the PHC level will automatically translate to a fracture of secondary and tertiary healthcare, which impacts negatively on both State and Federal tiers of Government. In order to circumvent these, the Federal Government set up the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and consequently the States versions to ameliorate this problem.

Contextual Review


The Nigerian government is committed to quality and accessible public health services through provision of primary health care (PHC) in rural areas as well as provision of preventive and curative services (Nigeria Constitution, 1999). PHC is provided by local government authority through health centers and health posts and they are staffed by nurses, midwives, community heath officers, heath technicians, community health extension workers and by physicians (doctors) especially in the southern part of the country. The services provided at these PHCs include: prevention and treatment of com- municable diseases, immunization, maternal and child health services, family planning, public health education, environmental health and the collection of statistical data on health and heath related events. The health care delivery at the LGA is headed politically by a supervisory councilor and technically and administratively by a PHC coordinator and assisted by a deputy coordinator. The PHC co-coordinator reports to the supervisory councilor who in turn reports to the LGA chairman (Adeyemo, 2005; Federal Ministry of Health, 2004). The different components of the LGA PHC are manned by personnel of diverse specialty. The LGA is running her primary health care services delivery in compliance with the principles / framework of the National Health Policy (Nigerian National Health Bill, 1987). The LGA is divided into various health districts/wards so as to enhance maximum benefit of the principle of decentralization of the health sector whereby people are involved, participate and mobilized in the PHC processes.





In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.


Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.


According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.

This study was carried to examine problem of mass illiteracy and public health care services in Nigeria. Selected public health in Lagos forms the population of the study.




This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.




It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain problem of mass illiteracy and public health care services in Nigeria. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing problem of mass illiteracy and public health care services in Nigeria


This study was on problem of mass illiteracy and public health care services in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised which included; Evaluate the Impact of Mass Illiteracy on Healthcare Access, analyze Healthcare Utilization Patterns Among Illiterate Populations, examine the Role of Public Health Care Services and Investigate Maternal and Child Health Disparities. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from selected health care centers in Lagos state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).


In a nation grappling with the challenges of mass illiteracy and inadequate public health care services, the intricate interplay between these two issues becomes apparent. This study has shed light on the profound impact of mass illiteracy on healthcare access, utilization, and health outcomes in Nigeria. The evidence presented underscores the urgent need for comprehensive interventions that bridge the gap between literacy and health care, with the ultimate goal of fostering equitable health access and improved well-being for all citizens.

The study’s exploration of the maternal and child health disparities resulting from mass illiteracy underscores the urgency of targeted efforts to ensure that illiterate women and caregivers receive appropriate health information and services. By addressing the barriers that hinder illiterate populations from navigating healthcare systems and understanding health-related information, Nigeria can take a significant step towards reducing maternal and infant mortality rates and enhancing overall health outcomes.

The significance of this study extends beyond the academic realm, reaching policymakers, healthcare providers, educators, and communities. The proposed strategies, informed by the study’s findings, offer a roadmap for integrating literacy and health education programs, enhancing healthcare infrastructure, and leveraging technology for information dissemination. These measures have the potential to drive lasting positive change, fostering informed health decision-making, optimizing resource allocation, and propelling Nigeria towards holistic socio-economic development.

In conclusion, this study highlights the critical need for a united effort to break the cycle of mass illiteracy and inadequate public health care services in Nigeria. By recognizing the intertwined nature of these challenges and implementing targeted, evidence-based solutions, Nigeria can pave the way for a healthier, more empowered, and prosperous future for its citizens.


Based on the findings and implications of this study, several recommendations are proposed to address the complex interplay of mass illiteracy and public health care services in Nigeria:

  1. Integrated Literacy and Health Programs: Develop and implement integrated literacy and health education programs that equip individuals with basic reading, writing, and health literacy skills. These programs should be tailored to local languages and cultural contexts to effectively reach illiterate populations.
  2. Health Communication Tailored to Literacy Levels: Healthcare providers should employ simplified and visual communication tools to convey health information to patients with varying literacy levels. Visual aids, videos, and interactive materials can bridge the communication gap and enhance understanding.
  3. Community Health Champions: Train community health workers and volunteers to serve as intermediaries between healthcare providers and illiterate individuals. These champions can translate complex health information into easily understandable language and facilitate healthcare navigation.
  4. Enhanced Healthcare Infrastructure: Allocate resources to improve healthcare facilities in underserved areas, ensuring that they are equipped with necessary medical supplies, qualified staff, and accessible facilities to cater to the needs of illiterate populations


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