Types Of Healthcare Systems In Nigeria (2024)

In this article, we shall be discussing about the types of healthcare systems in Nigeria currently in this year 2024. Our country currently operates a healthcare system that is in three levels, as opposed to many countries the world over that have four or five healthcare systems. The healthcare system in Nigeria include the following: Primary healthcare system, secondary healthcare system, and tertiary healthcare system, and we shall list and discuss each one of them in detail as we proceed. Please read along.

Types Of Healthcare Systems In Nigeria

One important thing to note about Nigeria’s healthcare system is that the various levels are being run and operated according to the three tiers of government, namely the federal, State and local government; with the federal government operating tertiary healthcare, the State governments operating secondary healthcare and the local governments operating primary healthcare across the federation.

The National Health Bill (2014) establishes requirements and controls how both commercial and public health providers in Nigeria perform healthcare services. The Federal Government, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Donors, NGOs, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), State Ministries of Health (SMOHs), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Local government Areas, and Ward Health Authorities are the main stakeholders in the delivery of healthcare in Nigeria.

Contrary to developed nations where there are insurance plans and taxes, most patients in Nigeria pay for their healthcare out of their own pockets. Most people’s health insurance are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Nigeria’s healthcare system suffers from inadequate health funding and investment, with the government allocating only 5 per cent of its total budget to this sector. Nigeria was ranked as low as 156th out of 191 nations by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the quality of its healthcare system and delivery. That said, let us look at the three healthcare systems in the country in detail below:


The following are the major types of healthcare systems operated in Nigeria currently in this year 2024:


The bulk of the population in Nigeria often first interacts with the national health system through the Primary Health Centres (PHCs). To bring health closer to the people, this form of healthcare system includes primary healthcare facilities located in every local government area in the country. Primary healthcare is geared toward addressing the population’s non-emergency, preventative healthcare needs. Primary health care offers treatments, encourages health education, and refers patients in need of more specialized services to secondary or tertiary health care. It also offers medical evaluations to patients with all kinds of acute and chronic health problems.

Patients are normally treated by primary care doctors also known as general practitioners, family doctors or medical officers at primary healthcare facilities, although in some circumstances, the patients may be seen by other healthcare providers first, such as a pharmacists, nurses, etc. The population’s access to primary healthcare facilities makes it easier to provide a continuum of treatment that supports a full recovery, regular checkups, and preventative healthcare. To be able to treat patients of diverse ages, genders, and medical issues, medical staff in Primary Health Centres (PHCs) typically have a wide range of knowledge in numerous fields.

Regrettably, only 20 per cent of Nigeria’s more than 30,000 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are fully operational to offer the population with necessary primary healthcare services, making the country’s primary healthcare system less than adequate. The primary healthcare system in Nigeria is in a terrible shape for a variety of reasons, including inadequate personnel, a shortage of medical professionals, inadequate infrastructure, and an irregular supply of necessary medications.


In Nigeria today, General hospitals as well as private secondary facilities make up the secondary healthcare system. In-patient specialist treatment and support are the main goals of secondary healthcare for patients who have been referred from the primary health centres (PHCs). Secondary healthcare institutions employ healthcare experts who specialize in assisting patients who battle more serious medical issues that need for specialized expert care. Patients are typically seen by specialists at secondary healthcare facilities who are knowledgeable about their particular health issues. Specialists in secondary health care fields include general surgeons, gynaecologists, paediatricians, to name a few.


The highest level of specialist medical care in Nigeria is provided through the tertiary healthcare system. Typically, primary and secondary healthcare systems will refer patients with difficult and more serious health conditions to tertiary healthcare facilities. Most of the medical care given in tertiary healthcare systems is carried out by qualified healthcare professionals using cutting-edge technology. The management of diseases, neurosurgery, diagnostics, heart surgery, palliative interventions, transplant surgery, intensive care, sophisticated diagnostics, and other medical services are provided in the tertiary healthcare system. Teaching and Specialist Hospitals, together with Federal Medical Centres, are the health facilities in the country that provide tertiary healthcare.

Ezeh Emmanuella

Ezeh Emmanuella is an information enthusiast and the Editor of Nigerian Search Guide. She loves to answer search queries on everything Nigeria. She is also the brain behind Ellacious Designs, an emerging fashion brand in Nigeria today.

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