Remote area health workers perceptions about mHealth Initiative “Talk for Life” in Ghanzi, Botswana

Martindale, Laura (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Mobile phones and recent technological advancements have impacted our lives and ability to communicate from almost anywhere in the world. A wide range of mobile devices has contributed to the evolution of health system transformation with the mHealth movement, enabling mobile health service delivery. This qualitative study explores health workers perceptions of mHealth pilot initiative “Talk for Life” in the remote areas of Ghanzi, Botswana. Health workers utilization, reaction, perceived improvements in service delivery and recommendations for future developments are discussed with the intention to inform interventions for increased equitable access to healthcare in the remote areas of Botswana. Results of the study revealed remote area health workers have a need to utilize consistent mobile telecommunication to provide adequate patient care. Initial experiences with the “Talk for Life” pilot mHealth initiative confirm positive opinions with the use of the closed user group mobile phone network. The majority of health workers cite using the phones every day for diagnosis, patient management, emergency assistance, referral and follow up. Despite the numerous challenges with vast distance between health facilities, limited infrastructure and slow development in the remote areas of Botswana, mobile phones allow for immediate communication that surpasses such obstacles. Improvements in service delivery and recommendations to expand, replicate and further advance the mHealth pilot into a more comprehensive telemedicine based solution are presented.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die mobiele telefoon en onlangse tegnologiese vooruitgang het ons lewens en vermoëns op so ‘n wyse geraak dat ons feitlik van oraloor ter wêreld kan kommunikeer. ‘n Wye reeks mobiele toestelle het tot die evolusie van gesondheidstelseltransformasie, met die mHealth-beweging, bygedra en sodoende mobiele gesondheidsdiensverskaffing moontlik gemaak. Hierdie kwalitatiewe studie ondersoek gesondheidswerkers se persepsies rondom die mHealth-loodsinisiatief, Talk for Life, in die afgeleë gebiede van Ghanzi in Botswana. Die gebruik, reaksie, waargenome verbeteringe in diensverskaffing en aanbevelings vir toekomstige ontwikkelinge van gesondheidswerkers word bespreek met die oog daarop om intervensies aan die hand te doen vir verbeterde en billike toegang tot gesondheidsorg in die afgeleë gebiede van Botswana. Bevindinge van die studie dui daarop dat gesondheidswerkers in bovermelde afgeleë gebiede die behoefte het om konsekwente mobiele telekommunikasie aan te wend om voldoende pasiëntsorg te verskaf. Aanvanklike ondervindings met die mHealth Talk for Life-loodsinisiatief bevestig positiewe sienswyses met dié geslote gebruiksgroep mobiele telefoonnetwerk. Die meerderheid gesondheidswerkers meld gereelde daaglikse gebruik van die telefone vir diagnoses, pasiëntbestuur, noodbystand, verwysing- en opvolg-aksie. Ondanks veelvuldige uitdagings weens enorme afstand tussen gesondheidsfasiliteite, beperkte infrastruktuur en stadige ontwikkeling in Botswana se afgeleë gebiede ,bied mobiele telefone onmiddellike kommunikasie wat die vermelde hindernisse oorkom. Verbeterings in diensverskaffing en aanbevelings oor hoe om uit te brei, dupliseer en bevorder die mHealth-loodsinisiatief en maak daarvan ‘n meer uitgebreide en omvattende diens gebaseer op telekommunikasie – telemedikasie, as’t ware.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80282
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