Bridging the communication gap: Successes and challenges of mobile phone technology in a health and demographic surveillance system in northern Nigeria

Authors: Henry V. Doctor, Alabi Olatunji, and Abdul’ Azeez Jumare
Journal Title: Online Journal of Public Health Informatics
Journal Reference: 4(3): e14
Document Type: Journal articles
Publication Date: 2012

Maternal and child health indicators are generally poor in Nigeria with the northern part of the country having the worst indicators than the southern part. Efforts to address maternal and health challenges in Nigeria include, among others, improvement in health and management information systems. We report on the experience of mobile phone technology in supporting the activities of a health and demographic surveillance system in northern Nigeria. Our experience calls for the need for the Nigerian Government, the mobile network companies, and the international community at large to consolidate their efforts in addressing the mobile network coverage and power supply challenges in order to create an enabling environment for socio-economic development particularly in rural and disadvantaged areas. Unless power and mobile network challenges are addressed, health interventions that rely on mobile phone technology will not have a significant impact in improving maternal and child health.

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Tags: Maternal health, Child health, Monitoring and evaluation, Public Health Surveillance systems, Public Health Informatics, Nigera, Mobile phones, Information system, Mobile network, Health care technology,