Childbearing Women’s Perception About the Use of mHealth for Maternal Health Information in Rural Communities, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Background: Poor access and utilisation of maternal health services among rural women is a major contributor to the high maternal mortality in Nigeria. Inadequate healthcare facilities and personnel in the rural communities are some of the major factors militating against women’s access and use of maternal health services. Harnessing mobile health (mHealth) in supporting health services delivery to widely-dispersed women will improve access to reproductive healthcare and reduce maternal mortality. This study aimed at assessing women’s perception about the use of mHealth for maternal health information in rural communities. Methods: This was a descriptive community-based cross-sectional study that involved 403 women of childbearing age (15 to 49 y) who gave birth within the five years prior to the study. Data were collected over two weeks using structured questionnaires. Results: The majority of the women possessed mobile phones, 91%, but only 48% currently used them for maternal health information and 87.3% had a positive perception about use of mHealth for maternal health information. Women who had positive perception had higher odds of accessing a health institution for delivery compared to those who had poor perception (OR=1.72, SE=0.6, CI=0.92-3.22). Conclusion: Women had positive perceptions about use of mHealth but current use of mobile phone for maternal health information was poor. Innovative methods like mHealth to strengthen maternal health services delivery for the hard to reach populations are urgently needed to support Nigeria efforts towards desirable global maternal and child health targets against year 2030.
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