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Can mHealth improve timeliness and quality of health data collected and used by health extension workers in rural Southern Ethiopia?

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Mengesha, W, Steege, Rosalind, Kea, A Z, Theobald, Sally ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9053-211X and Datiko, D (2018) 'Can mHealth improve timeliness and quality of health data collected and used by health extension workers in rural Southern Ethiopia?'. Journal of Public Health, Vol 40, Issue suppl_2, ii74-ii86.

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Abstract

Background
Health extension workers (HEWs) are the key cadre within the Ethiopian Health Extension Programme extending health care to rural communities. National policy guidance supports the use of mHealth to improve data quality and use. We report on a mobile Health Management Information system (HMIS) with HEWs and assess its impact on data use, community health service provision and HEWs' experiences.
Methodology
We used a mixed methods approach, including an iterative process of intervention development for 2 out of 16 essential packages of health services, quantitative analysis of new registrations, and qualitative research with HEWs and their supervisors.
Results
The iterative approach supported ownership of the intervention by health staff, and 8833 clients were registered onto the mobile HMIS by 62 trained HEWs. HEWs were positive about using mHealth and its impact on data quality, health service delivery, patient follow-up and skill acquisition. Challenges included tensions over who received a phone; worries about phone loss; poor connectivity and power failures in rural areas; and workload.
Discussion
Mobile HMIS developed through collaborative and locally embedded processes can support quality data collection, flow and better patient follow-up. Scale-up across other community health service packages and zones is encouraged together with appropriate training, support and distribution of phones to address health needs and avoid exacerbating existing inequalities.
Keywords
CHWs, equity, ethics, Ethiopia, Health Management Information system, HEP, maternal health, mHealth, TB.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 83 Telemedicine (General)
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 525 General works
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdy200
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 12:54
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 12:54
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/9847

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