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According to the World Health Report 2000, health system responsiveness is proposed as one of the three key objectives of any health system. This multi-domain concept describes how well a health system responds to the expectations of their users concerning the non-health enhancing aspects of care. In this study we aim to compare the levels of responsiveness experienced by users of private and publicly managed hospitals in Nigeria, and through these insights, to propose recommendations on how to improve performance on this measure. This quantitative, cross-sectional study uses a questionnaire that is adapted from two responsiveness surveys designed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Researchers collected responses from 520 respondents from four hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria. Analysis of the data using statistical techniques found that significant differences exist between the performance of public and private hospitals on certain domains of responsiveness, with privately operated hospitals performing better where differences exist. Users of private hospitals also reported a higher level of overall satisfaction. Private hospitals were found to perform particularly better on the domains of dignity, waiting times, and travel times. These findings have implications for the management of public hospitals in focusing their efforts on improving their performance in low scoring domains. Performance in these hospitals can be improved by emphasis on staff training and demand management.
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