Introduction: this study aimed to analyze the spatial distribution and capacities of public health facilities and assess utilization of the facilities in Biu area of Borno State, Nigeria. Methods: a descriptive survey of health facilities and households were conducted by stratifying the area into 11 electoral wards. Data collection instruments include a hand-held GPS (Garmin 76CSx) and 2 sets of structured questionnaires (facility and household). The hand-held GPS was used in taking the coordinates of each health facility in the area. Twenty-five facility-based and 400 household-based questionnaires were administered. Results: it was identified that 138 public health personnel serve the area's population of 240,838. Medical professionals (doctors/nurses/midwives) to patient ratio is 1:2973, about 7 times less than the minimum WHO recommendation of 2.5 medical personal per 1000 population. Uneven distribution of facilities exists, which impact on utilisation. For instance, a ward (Mandaragrau) with a population of 18,732 have 5 facilities (4 dispensaries and 1 primary health care) in comparison to a ward (Miringa) with a population of 21,343 with only one Dispensary. Income level and distance were significant socio-economic factors affecting service utilisation (p < 0.001). Area's households Gini index was 26.7, most of which (49.7%) survive on less than USD2/day and majority (33.6%) spend an average cost of treatment of ₦2,750 (approx. $8) per clinic visit. Conclusion: it was concluded that insufficiency and inequity in distribution of healthcare services exist in Borno State. It is thus recommended that future policies be directed toward improving healthcare in under-served areas.
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- health facilities
- socio-economic status