This paper reports on a study to assess the quality of maternal health care in public health facilities in Nigeria and to identify the resource implications of making the necessary quality improvements. Drawing upon unifying themes from quality assurance, basic microeconomics and the Bamako Initiative, locally defined norms were used to estimate resource requirements for improving the quality of maternal health care. Wide gaps existed between what is required (the norm) and what was available in terms of fixed and variable resources required for the delivery of maternal health services in public facilities implementing the Bamako initiative in the Local Government Areas studied. Given such constraints, it was highly unlikely that technically acceptable standards of care could be met without additional resource inputs to meet the norm. This is part of the cost of doing business and merits serious policy dialogue. Revenue generation from health services was poor and appeared to be more related to inadequate supply of essential drugs and consumables than to the use of uneconomic fee scales. It is likely that user fees will be necessary to supplement scarce government budgets, especially to fund the most critical variable inputs associated with quality improvements. However, any user fee system, especially one that raises fees to patients, will have to be accompanied by immediate and visible quality improvements. Without such quality improvements, cost recovery will result in even lower utilization and attempts to generate new revenues are unlikely to succeed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy