AN ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY READINESS FOR MHEALTH IN RURAL DARFUR SUDAN
Ekram A. Eldoom*, Adama M. Yagoub and Adam D. Saeed
Introduction: There are increasing numbers of mHealth initiatives in middle and low income countries aimed at improving health outcomes. Arecent study in Sudan examined community readiness for mHealth using a framework based on quantitative data. Given the importance of a framework and the complementary role of qualitative exploration, this paper presents data from a qualitative study which complements findings from the quantitative study. Methods: The study was conducted in Abwaejura, Hamaraia, and Tono in the south-western direction of the city of Nyala in Sudan. Indepth Interviews were conducted between December 2017 and March 2018 for 30 participants. Participants are from general public, students, community leaders, school teachers, and formal and informal healthcare providers. Thematic analysis was used to create an appropriate and logical framework to examine community readiness. As in the quantitative investigation, this study approached the investigation with four types of readiness in mind: core readiness, technological readiness, human resource readiness and motivational readiness. Results: Community members, community leaders and health care providers expressed their interest in the use of mHealth in rural Sudan. Awareness of mHealth and its advantages was low among uneducated people. Participants who have used mHealth were attracted to the speed of access to qualified healthcare providers, time savings and low cost. In contrast some participants do not see the value of using mobile phones for healthcare compared to a face to face consultation. Illiteracy, lack of trust, technological incapability and Heath care providers do not receive messages and calls from this segment of the commuity were identified as barriers to mHealth use. However, positive awareness, asense of ownership, the humbleness of health service providers, and the future outlook for mobile health are the driving force behind this program. Conclusions: This study reaffirmed the mHealth readiness conceptual framework with different dimensions of readiness and identified potential constraints and possible solutions for mHealth. In order to improve mobile health, emphasis shoud be placed on training adopters, providing less costly services and providing adegree of trust.
Keywords: Mhealth (mobile health), eHealth (electron health), readiness.
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