International assistance and health sector development in Nigeria.
The effectiveness of official development assistance in responding to health problems in recipient countries may be examined in terms of 1) the results of specific aid-supported projects, 2) the degree to which the activities have contributed to recipients' institutional capacity, and 3) the impact of aid on national policy and the broader development process. A review of the literature indicates a number of conceptual and practical constraints to assessing health aid effectiveness. Numerous health projects have been evaluated and issues of sustainability have been studied, but relatively little is known about the systemic effects of health aid. The experience of Nigeria is analyzed between the mid-1970s and the late 1980s. In the 1970s, Nigeria's income rose substantially from oil revenues, and a national program was undertaken to increase the provision of basic health services. The program did not achieve its immediate objectives, and health sector problems were exacerbated by the decline of national income during the 1980s. Since 1987, a progressive national primary healthcare policy has been in place. Aid has been given to Nigeria in comparatively small amounts per capita. Among the major donors, WHO, UNICEF, and, most recently, the World Bank, have assisted the development of general health services, while USAID, UNFPA, and the Ford Foundation have aided the health sector with the principal objective of promoting family planning. 3 projects are examined as case studies. They are: a model of family health clinics for maternal and child care; a largescale research project for health and family planning services; and a national immunization program. The effectiveness of each was constrained initially by limited coordination among donors and by the lack of a supportive policy framework. The 1st 2 of these projects developed service delivery models that have been reflected in the national health strategy. The immunization program has reached nationwide coverage, although with uncertain systemic impact. Overall, aid is seen as having made a marginal but significant contribution to health development in Nigeria,a primarily through the demonstration of new service delivery approaches and the improvement of management capacity. (author's)