Understanding the Introduction and Use of a Mobile Device-Supported Health Information System in Nigeria




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Peer reviewed



This paper presents an in-depth analysis of efforts to introduce a mobile health information system in Nigeria as part of a development initiative aimed at improving maternal and child health. Specifically, it examines the use of mobile devices to facilitate maternal health information accessibility and exchange among health practitioners in order to reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality. Further, it also looks at the challenges raised while introducing mobile devices into work practices in the healthcare sector. The study adopts a case study approach, relying on semi-structured interviews and document analysis as its main methods for collecting data. The specific case examined is a mobile phone-based information system introduced to support a national government effort in Nigeria, known as the midwives service scheme. The findings of this study show that this integrated approach of using mobile phones to support (health) information systems has vast potential; for instance increasing the timeliness of (health) data available to stakeholders for monitoring and planning purposes. However, we also find that over time, attaining the potential of development efforts such as this remains difficult as initiatives involving the use of mobile devices is not just about getting the technical aspect right. It is equally dependent on deep seated social-cultural influences such as poor political and financial commitment. These two mutually reinforcing influences have been identified in this study as significant impediments to efforts of this kind. Therefore, this paper argues for, first a strong political commitment across all levels of government whereby their words are backed with action. Second it is important that the government maintains financial integrity by releasing the funds budgeted to support the smooth running of these efforts, for such initiatives to thrive and ultimately contribute to development.



Development, Developing Countries (DC), Mobile phones, Nigeria, Mobile-Supported Health Information Systems, Primary Health Care


Ezenwa, C. and Brooks, L. (2014) Understanding the Introduction and Use of a Mobile Device-Supported Health Information System in Nigeria. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), 62 (7), pp. 1-20


Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)