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J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2008 Oct-Dec;20(4):153-6.

Internet access and utilization for health information among university students in Islamabad.

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  • 1Chester Health Department, City Hall, 1 Fourth Street, Chester, PA 19013, USA.



Internet has changed the way we live and work. Advent of this technology has fundamentally transformed our lives the way invention of automobile changed how our lives and cities looked and worked before. Practically no information is available on the use of Internet for health by the people of Pakistan. The Objectives of the study were to assess the access and utilization pattern of Internet by university students in Islamabad, with emphasis on the healthcare information seeking.


An anonymous, self-administered, and pre-tested questionnaire with questions on the access, and usage pattern of Internet, seeking health care information online, and belief about reliability of such information; was distributed to only those students who were enrolled in masters or higher degree programs.


A total of 600 students were approached and 598 (99.7%) completed the questionnaires. The mean age of students was 23.5 years (range 19-40). The majority of students (423) were enrolled in masters program. Four hundred and sixty-eight students (78.26%) students had access to the computer either at home or at their university hostel. While 304 (50.84%) students had Internet access at home or in their university hostel. Out of 304 students who reported having access to Internet in the past three months, one hundred and thirty-nine (43.4%) students replied affirmatively to the question of having used Internet for seeking health care information. And 109 (78.4%) thought that such information was reliable. Out of 139 students who had used Internet for seeking health information, 35 (25.2%) students replied affirmatively to the question of having discussed health information obtained from Internet with their doctor/physician whom they visited for any illness/treatment.


Majority of Islamabad university students in this study had access to computer and Internet. Young and healthy state of this educated age group perhaps accounts for limited use of Internet for seeking healthcare related information. However, high reliability of Internet obtained health information needs to be further studied in terms of websites utilized for seeking such information.

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