Access to healthcare; A growing concern for elderly individuals in rural Nigeria

In Nigeria, access to healthcare is a major challenge for all citizens, but it is especially difficult for elderly individuals living in rural areas. There are a number of factors that contribute to this problem, including:

Shortage of healthcare workers:  Even in the few rural health facilities that exist, there is often a shortage of trained healthcare workers. This is due to a number of factors, including low salaries, poor working conditions, and the migration of health workers to urban areas.

Distance to healthcare facilities: Rural areas are often located far from healthcare facilities. This can make it difficult for elderly individuals to travel to get the care they need.

Cost of healthcare: Healthcare costs can be a barrier to access for elderly individuals, especially those who are on a fixed income. According to a 2019 study by the National Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly cost of healthcare for a senior citizen in Nigeria is N50,000. This cost can vary depending on the level of care required, the location of the healthcare provider, and the type of insurance coverage. For example, a senior citizen who needs to be hospitalized for a serious illness could face costs of ₦100,000 or more per month. On the other hand, a senior citizen who only needs to see a doctor for routine checkups and minor illnesses could have monthly healthcare costs of ₦20,000 or less.

Transportation: Even if elderly individuals are able to travel to a healthcare provider, they may not have the means to do so. This is especially true for those who live in poverty or who do not have access to a car.


Impact of these barriers

The barriers to healthcare access in rural areas can have a significant impact on the health of elderly individuals. These individuals may be more likely to delay or forego needed care, which can lead to health problems that could have been prevented or treated. They may also be more likely to experience chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.


There are a number of things that can be done to improve access to healthcare for elderly individuals in rural Nigeria. These include:

Expanding the availability of healthcare providers: This can be done by recruiting more healthcare providers to rural areas, and providing incentives for providers to practice in rural areas.

Reducing the distance to healthcare facilities: Building new healthcare facilities in rural areas, providing transportation to healthcare facilities, and using mobile health clinics to bring care to rural residents.

Lowering the cost of healthcare: This can be done by expanding access to public health insurance programs, and by negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs.

Improving transportation options: Providing public transportation to healthcare facilities, and subsidizing transportation costs.

How can YOU help?

-Donate/ volunteer to organizations that are working to improve healthcare in rural Nigeria.

-Educate yourself about the challenges that the elderly in rural areas face in accessing healthcare.

-Educate seniors about their healthcare options. Many are unaware about the resources available to them, such as Government programs.


Every little bit helps. By taking action, you can make a difference in the lives of millions of elderly Nigerians.

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