This study was carried out to examine the utilization of information communication and technology by mothers in accessing maternal and child health information with special reference to mother and child hospital. Specifically, the study aims at examining the methods mothers adopt in accessing MCH information using ICT, find out the challenges encountered by mothers in accessing MCH information using ICT and investigate the benefit of mothers in using ICT on maternal and child health information. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the methods mothers adopt in accessing MCH information using ICT are by using mobile phones, listening to radio, using the internet| computer and watching television. The study also revealed the challenges encountered by mothers in accessing MCH information using ICT are epileptic power supply, income is low; I can’t afford them, language of content and poor mobile phone network. Lastly, the study revealed the benefit of mothers in using ICT on maternal and child health information is that It helps to promote, protect and maintain the health of the mother during pregnancy, helps to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate, helps to teach mother regarding the child care and personal hygiene and environmental sanitation. The study thereby recommend that governments and other stakeholders involved in the promotion of MCH should ensure proper positioning and regulation of the use of ICT for health promotion for maternal and child health in Nigeria. Also, health policies should also target subsidizing the costs associated with the use of ICT by women of reproductive age to increase their access to relevant maternal health information. Furthermore, alternative power sources, such as portable power banks (for mothers), solar systems and inverters (for the health facilities), should be provided to ensure effective use of ICT for health promotion.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in health services is a welcome phenomenon in the health care system. ICT is a diverse set of technological tools and resources to create, disseminate, store, bring value addition and manage information (Urwin, 2009). The use of ICT to facilitate health service use is widely accepted in developing countries and Nigeria too has also engaged in adopting ICT in health care facilities (Oyeyemi & Wynn, 2014). WHO and Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) in Nigeria (2011a) recommended the use of ICT in MCH information to improve health outcomes in Nigeria and other developing countries. Hence, use of ICT to deliver health education information can help to mitigate the problems accruing from low use of MCH (Anyoha, Chikaire, Godson, Ogueri, & Utazi, 2018). Studies on the use of ICT to improve health care showed that it has the potential to overcome inadequacies of health infrastructure, improve access to quality information and services (Atnafu, Otto, & Herbst, 2017; Murthy et al., 2019; Obasola, & Mabawonku, 2016). These studies have shown that ICT has positive impacts on rural livelihoods through vital health information or education. UN Women (2002) stated that ICT do play important roles in disseminating a wide range of information and advice leading to health knowledge and attitude change among rural communities. Anyaoha et al. (2018) stated that ICT helps in supporting rural communities to acquire new skills and also in creating new job opportunities in the community. This therefore implies that ICT helps to disseminate health information or education. Health information or education is a critical factor that has mattered in healthcare practices and in use of health services.
Pregnancy and childbirth has been the leading cause of maternal and neonatal/child death worldwide especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Health Organization [WHO] (2014) estimated that about 250 million pregnancies occurred worldwide and this has resulted in millions of death of women and children. WHO (2014) also estimated that approximately 830 women die every day due to pregnancy related conditions and child birth. United Nations Children Fund [UNICEF] (2015) estimate showed that Nigeria loses about 145 childbearing mothers’ every single day due to pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions. Adewole (2017) lamented that while Nigeria contributed only 2.4 percent to the global population, it also contributes 14 per cent of the global burden of maternal mortality. Mortality in women and neonate has shown little decline due to the progress of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 (United Nation, 2015). However, this little progress falls short of expectation because it still account for 97 per cent maternal and 94 per cent neonatal mortality (UNICEF, 2015). This situation could be attributed to the availability, quality and utilization of Maternal and child health care (MCH). Say and Raine (2007), and Wolf, Joh and Lorzonem (2013) reported that unavailability and low use of MCH have contributed to women’s death from preventable causes. Azubuike (2014) reported that low use of MCH is attributed to the unavailability and inaccessibility of these services. Ransom and Graham (2006) opined that the death of women is compounded by limited resources and lack of information which acts as barrier to access and use of health services. Azubuike (2019) stated that lack of health education or health information is among the barriers to effective utilization of family planning services. Therefore, to improve the health of women, sources through which they receive information on the important and urgency of using health care services should be improved. Hence, the introduction of ICT in health service delivery is imperative.
Maternal health, defined as the well-being of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, is a very important issue that relates to a critical period in a woman’s life (WHO, 2012; WHO, 2016; Adamu 2012). The reproductive years are the most productive for a woman, in which she strives to utilise her potential and contribute economically as a citizen of a nation. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, this period has been associated with many complications and, in some cases, deaths (Adamu, 2011).
In 2010, about 40,000 Nigerian women died in pregnancy, while 1 to 1.6 million suffered from serious complications of pregnancy and childbirth, including severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion ( USAID, 2012; WHO and UNICEF, 2012; WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and The World Bank, 2012). Most of the complications that women encounter in pregnancy and childbirth significantly contribute to the high morbidity and mortality for women of reproductive age in Nigeria (Adamu, 2011; Cooke and Tahir, 2013). These complications have been linked to the unhealthy practices women adopt during pregnancy because of misinformation or inadequate information about available health services. Women also lack awareness on the symptoms of complications in pregnancy; consequently, many of them engage in unhealthy practices during pregnancy (Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, 2011; Doctor, Bairagi, Findley, Helleringer and Dahiru, 2011). ICT has been identified as an important tool which can be integrated into health systems to accelerate the desired progress toward reducing maternal and child health mortality (Yamuah, 2005).hence the need to look into the utilization of information communication and technology by mothers in accessing Maternal and Child Health information.
Statement of the problem
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) care is the most cost effective intervention of the primary health care to prevent maternal and child mortality and to improve the health of mothers and their children(Adamu, 2011). Pregnancy and childbearing is a joyful thing in the society which every woman is expected to go through, though it is associated with a lot of complications which may cause morbidities and mortalities. MCH is one of the greatest achievements of public health care in Nigeria which provides dramatic improvement in the health of mothers and children and also improves their standard of living generally.the utilization of ICT platforms may pose some challenges. The first is misinformation or information overload. However, information accessed through some ICT platforms are unregulated and may be of low quality or out rightly erroneous(Adamu, 2011). Users of such platforms may be ignorant of these facts. Another challenge is the effect that the use of ICT can have on doctor-patient relationship since patients may repeatedly turn to ICT platforms which may lead to misdiagnosis. Therefore, the study will examine the utilization of information communication and technology by mothers in accessing Maternal and Child Health information.
Objective of the study
The general objective of the study is to examine the utilization of information communication and technology by mothers in accessing Maternal and Child Health information. Specifically, the study will be guided under the following:
i. To examine the methods mothers adopt in accessing MCH information using ICT.
ii. To find out the challenges encountered by mothers in accessing MCH information using ICT.
iii. To investigate the benefit of mothers in using ICT on maternal and child health information.
The following questions have been prepared for this study:
i. What are the methods mothers adopt in accessing MCH information using ICT?
ii. What are the challenges encountered by mothers in accessing MCH information using ICT?
iii. What are the benefit of mothers in using ICT on maternal and child health information?
Significance of the study
This study will be significant to the ministry of health as it will expose them to the lapses in the use of ICT in other for mothers easy access to maternal and child health information.
The study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
Scope of the study
The study will examine the methods mothers adopt in accessing MCH information using ICT. The study will also find out the challenges encountered by mothers in accessing MCH information using ICT. Lastly, the study will investigate the benefit of mothers in using ICT on maternal and child health information. Hence this study will be delimited to the mother and child hospital Akure, Ondo State.
Limitation of the study
The researcher finds it difficult to go round all the bank branches due to limited time availability, as a result of this, the data were only collected from few banks randomly.
Electronic banking is a recent developed system in which not all banks have embraced, those that have embraced it were able to give their information to the researcher and those that have not fully embraced it were unable to give accurate data to researcher.
Lack of funds
Due to the nature of this work, researcher find it difficult to raise the funds needed to carry out the research appropriately, as a result of this, few banks branches were selected based on the available finance to enable researcher get the needed information.
Definition of terms
ICT: information communications technology.
Maternal and child health : the health of mothers, infants, children, and adolescents