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Int Q Community Health Educ. 2005-2006;25(1-2):169-83.

Planning health education: Internet and computer resources in southwestern Nigeria. 2000-2001.

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University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


The use of the Internet as a health education tool and as a resource in health education planning is widely accepted as the norm in industrialized countries. Unfortunately, access to computers and the Internet is quite limited in developing countries. Not all licensed service providers operate, many users are actually foreign nationals, telephone connections are unreliable, and electricity supplies are intermittent. In this context, computer, e-mail, Internet, and CD-Rom use by health and health education program officers in five states in southwestern Nigeria were assessed to document their present access and use. Eight of the 30 organizations visited were government health ministry departments, while the remainder were non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Six NGOs and four State Ministry of Health (MOH) departments had no computers, but nearly two-thirds of both types of agency had e-mail, less than one-third had Web browsing facilities, and six had CD-Roms, all of whom were NGOs. Only 25 of the 48 individual respondents had computer use skills. Narrative responses from individual employees showed a qualitative difference between computer and Internet access and use and type of agency. NGO staff in organizations with computers indicated having relatively free access to a computer and the Internet and used these for both program planning and administrative purposes. In government offices it appeared that computers were more likely to be located in administrative or statistics offices and used for management tasks like salaries and correspondence, limiting the access of individual health staff. These two different organizational cultures must be considered when plans are made for increasing computer availability and skills for health education planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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