Gender Differentials in Access to Medical Services During COVID-19 Lockdown: Insights from Nigeria

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Adewole, Ololade G.
Omotoso, Kehinde O.
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African Economic Research Consortium
Nigeria, like most countries of the world, implemented a lockdown policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, restricting all sorts of movements except for essential services and functions as a measure to contain the virus. Access to medical services is an important component of good healthcare systems, and with gender inequitable access to medical services, improving the health outcome of the population is not likely to be achieved. This study analyses gender differentials in access to medical services during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, using both descriptive and inferential analytical techniques. Results show that adult health services were the most needed medical services, and females needed these services slightly more than their male counterparts. However, access to these services was greater for males than for females. This same pattern is also observed for child health services. Further analysis shows that females are less likely to access adult health services than their male counterparts. Employment gap contributes about 79% to the gender differential in access to adult health services. Moreover, differences between males and females in the Northwest zone also account for the bulk of the gender differentials in access to adult health services. This suggests the possibility that females are disproportionately treated less equally than males in the zone. Meanwhile, receipt of social assistance increases males' access to adult health services by 6.4% and increases that of females' access by 1.6%. These results were substantiated by qualitative analysis. While some respondents were of the opinion that there was a gender differential in access to SRH, others opine that there was none. The study provides evidence-based recommendations for quality policy decisions on appropriate measures to promote gender-equitable and sustainable recovery in a time of crisis.
COVID-19; Decomposition; Gender; Social assistance; Medical services; Nigeria.