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mHealth: Mobile phones in HIV prevention in Uganda
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

mHealth – Mobile phones in HIV prevention in Uganda

by Axel Salomonsson


The use of ”new”  interactive media like the Internet and cell phones in health education is not an entirely new phenomenon and studies shows promising results from such information campaigns in developed countries[1]. In the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, however, no scientific studies have been made on the effects of mobile phone-based information campaigns in developing countries. This study can therefore be seen as a pilot study in this area.

As mobile phone ownership has multiplied in Africa over the last decade, it has become one of the most reliable mediums for mass communication about health issues. This is a case study of one HIV/AIDS prevention campaign from 2009, where two NGO’s used a multiple choice SMS quiz to ask questions about HIV/AIDS to ten thousand mobile phone owners in the Arua region in North-Western Uganda. The targeted population could send their answers back and win prizes. They were also encouraged to seek out HIV counseling and testing services at a local clinic.

By using a qualitative method consisting of a literature study combined with semi-structured interviews with the people who organized the intervention, as well as with respondents to the SMS quiz , the effectiveness and future potential of using mobile phones in HIV prevention in the East African setting are examined. Additional qualitative interviews with a number of experts from the Ugandan telecom sector, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, and an HIV/AIDS researcher from Makerere University in Kampala was also conducted in order to get a better understanding of the context in which this HIV prevention intervention was implemented.

The results show that mobile phones are a feasible medium in HIV prevention, and that it offers an additional channel for information dissemination. By allowing two-way communication, the audience is empowered to participate in the exchange of information, which seems to have a positive effect on attitude and behavior change. Further, by receiving answers via SMS from the targeted population, the mobile can at the same time be used as a monitoring and evaluation tool for measuring knowledge levels on different topics. This information can then help to tailor HIV prevention messages in future campaigns.

[1] See Bull, S: Internet and other computer technology-based interventions for STD/HIV prevention, in  Communication Perspectives on HIV/AIDS for the 21st Century. Edgar et al. 2008.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 48 p.
Keyword [en]
Health communication, HIV prevention, mHealth
Keyword [sv]
Hälsokommunikation, HIV prevention
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-15581ISRN: ORU-HUS/MKV-SÖ-2011/0009--SEOAI: diva2:416978
Subject / course
Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
2010-06-03, Örebro Universitet, Örebro, 15:01 (Swedish)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-07-14 Created: 2011-05-13 Last updated: 2011-07-14Bibliographically approved

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