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Mobile health data collection at primary health care in Ethiopia: a feasible challenge

  • Araya Abrha Medhanyie
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +251-034-441-6690; fax: +251-034-441-6681.
    Affiliations
    Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, P.O. Box 1871, Mekelle, Ethiopia

    Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Peter Debyeplein 1, 6229 HA Maastricht, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

    Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alcala, 28871, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
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  • Albine Moser
    Affiliations
    Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Peter Debyeplein 1, 6229 HA Maastricht, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
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  • Mark Spigt
    Affiliations
    Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, P.O. Box 1871, Mekelle, Ethiopia

    Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Peter Debyeplein 1, 6229 HA Maastricht, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

    Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alcala, 28871, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

    Department of General Practice, Tromso University, Tromso, Norway
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  • Henock Yebyo
    Affiliations
    Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, P.O. Box 1871, Mekelle, Ethiopia
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  • Alex Little
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alcala, 28871, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

    Digital Campus, 21 North Drive, Littletown, Winchester, S0226QA, England, United Kingdom
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  • GeertJan Dinant
    Affiliations
    Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Peter Debyeplein 1, 6229 HA Maastricht, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
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  • Roman Blanco
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alcala, 28871, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

    Digital Campus, 21 North Drive, Littletown, Winchester, S0226QA, England, United Kingdom
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      Abstract

      Objectives

      Feasibility assessment of mobile health (mHealth) data collection at primary health care in Ethiopia.

      Study Design and Setting

      A total of 14 health workers were recruited from 12 primary health care facilities to use smartphones, installed with customized data collection application and electronic maternal health care forms for assessing pregnant women's health for 6 months. Qualitative approaches comprising in-depth interviews and field notes were used to document the users' perception and experience in using the application and forms.

      Results

      All health workers had never had previous exposure to smartphones and electronic forms, but they got used to them easily. Over 6 months, all health workers completed a total of 952 patient records using the forms on smartphones. Health workers' acceptability and demand for the application and forms were high. In introducing the application, nontechnical challenges were more difficult to solve than technical challenges.

      Conclusion

      Introducing an mHealth application at primary health care for routine collection of health data relevant to maternal health at a small scale was feasible. Nonetheless, implementing a system of assigning unique and consistent patient identifier, standardization of health services, and improving mobile network coverage would be prerequisites for scaled-up usage of such an application.

      Keywords

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