Prospects of mHealth services in Bangladesh: Recent evidence from Chakaria

Fatema Khatun, S. M.A. Hanifi, Mohammad Iqbal, Sabrina Rasheed, M. Shafiqur Rahman, Tanvir Ahmed, Shahidul Hoque, Tamanna Sharmin, Nazib Uz Zaman Khan, Shehrin Shaila Mahmood, David H. Peters, Abbas Bhuiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Results: Household ownership of mobile phones in the study area has increased from 2% in 2004 to 81% in 2012;45% of the respondents reported that they had mobile phones. Thirty-one percent of the respondents were aware of the use of mobile phones for healthcare. Very few people were aware of the available mHealth services. Males, younger age group, better educated, and those from richer households were more knowledgeable about the existing mHealth services. Among the respondents who sought healthcare in the preceding two weeks of the survey, only 2% used mobile phones for healthcare. Adherence to the advice from the healthcare providers in terms of purchasing and taking the drugs was somewhat similar between the patients who used mobile phone for consultation versus making a physical visit.

Conclusions: The high penetration of mobile phones into the society provides a unique opportunity to use the mHealth technology for consulting healthcare providers. Although knowledge of the existence of mHealth services was low, it was encouraging that the compliance with the prescriptions was almost similar for advice received through mobile phone and physical visits. The study revealed clear indications that society is looking forward to embracing the mHealth technology.

Methods: A total of 4,915 randomly-chosen respondents aged 18 years and above were interviewed.

Introduction: Bangladesh has a serious shortage of qualified health workforce. The limited numbers of trained service providers are based in urban areas, which limits access to quality healthcare for the rural population. mHealth provides a new opportunity to ensure access to quality services to the population. A recent review suggested that there are 19 mHealth initiatives in the country. This paper reports findings on people's knowledge, perception, use, cost and compliance with advice received from mHealth services from a study carried out during 2012-13 in Chakaria, a rural sub-district in Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere111413
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 6 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Khatun, F., Hanifi, S. M. A., Iqbal, M., Rasheed, S., Rahman, M. S., Ahmed, T., Hoque, S., Sharmin, T., Khan, N. U. Z., Mahmood, S. S., Peters, D. H., & Bhuiya, A. (2014). Prospects of mHealth services in Bangladesh: Recent evidence from Chakaria. PloS one, 9(11), [e111413]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111413