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Effective healthcare delivery in each Nigeria is considered one of the parameters for ascertaining the country’s level of development. But, the standard of health care delivery in Nigeria pre and post-independence has not effectively performed to meet the health needs of its growing population especially those in rural areas. In fact, extant reviews of literature further justify the wide gap in health care delivery between rural areas as against the urban centres in the country. This conceptual article discusses the need for the health system in rural Nigeria to be strengthened for improved service delivery and better performance. The paper gives an historical analysis on health care delivery in Nigeria pre and post-independence. Issues such as inadequate health workforce, complex health care systems, poor health financing mechanisms, poor quality of care, unavailability of drugs and vaccines are discussed in this article pre- and post-independence. The article argues that the Nigerian government in the past has shown preference towards urban areas compared to rural areas. This is implying that healthcare delivery of urban centres grows at a geometric rate while the rural areas have received little or no care. Also, the complex nature of health care delivery in Nigeria further affects efforts to improve rural health as multiple providers exist. The article suggests that health systems strengthening in rural areas be given utmost priority to address all the existing challenges. More so, health policies/programmes should be redesigned and implemented to meet the needs of rural dwellers in Nigeria.
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