Accessibility and Usability of Healthcare Information

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TOPIC: Accessibility and Usability of Healthcare Information and its impact on the Morbidity rate in West Africa.

BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION
Accessing information in developing countries is challenging for people living in rural areas. Many rural areas in these countries are without electricity supply and many of the residents are not literate. In addition, many of these rural areas are remote and do not have good roads. These constraints mean that their access to social amenities like healthcare is limited. Healthcare information is particularly important because health is wealth. Healthy rural dwellers will be able to provide a means of livelihood for their families, though they often rely on rudimentary methods. This then means that if rural dwellers can be empowered to access health-related information and practices, they can participate in social development and nation-building, and this can potentially help to reduce the wide margin between rural and urban dwellers.

Health workers are faced with huge difficulties with regards to reaching these rural people, and some of the reasons include challenging factors such as poor road network, lack of electricity, language barrier, remoteness, cultural/religious beliefs, etc. In many cases, health workers and authorities rely on mass media for the transmission of health information. Modern-day technologies like smart phones, tablets, and the Internet could serve as great tools for reaching rural dwellers but there is need for infrastructural development and support. The medical expert-to-rural patient ratios are extremely low as there are limited experts, if any, in most rural areas to attend to patients. For the small fraction of rural communities that are reached, the usability of the information provided is often discouraging. In many instances, health information is inappropriately utilized because of the following reasons: low literacy level, lack of infrastructure, little or no support, poverty,

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