The socio-economic determinants of access to quality health services in the Builsa District of the Upper East Region

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In both the developed and the developing world access to quality health services are limited to many people and therefore a source of worry to many stakeholders in the health sector. For example between 1.3 and 2.5 billion people all over the world have little or no access to health care due to poor socio-economic conditions and about 60% of developing country population depend on traditional sources for health care due to low income status. The main objective of this study was to determine the level of access to health services in the Builsa district of the Upper East Region. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection. A structured interview questionnaire guide was used to collect data on heads of households and health workers. Focus group discussions were also held involving youth groups, women groups, men groups, professional Associations like hairdressers and dressmakers to enable the study obtain varied information on the peoples experiences with health delivery and also assessed the perceptions of the people about quality health services as well as the socio-cultural beliefs and practices that affects access to quality health services in the district. The study discovered that income affects access to quality health services because the annual mean income of the people influences their choice of treatment and at the same time annual mean treatment cost also affects choice of treatment. The people’s perceptions about quality of health services affect access to health services. Education has no influence on access to health services. Household decision-making on the use of resources affects access to health services as such decisions were prerogative of the head of the household. Individuals lack the power to take decisions on their own health. The study recommended capacity building at the community level through group formation, Associations, co-operatives for effective and efficient credit management. Other recommendations were the expansion of health facilities, provision of improved road networks, and improved sensitization on the district wide mutual health insurance scheme, improved livestock production, health education as well as the provision of potable water facilities to improve sanitation as well as check the spread of water borne diseases.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Health Services Planning and Management, 2005