The Use of Information and Communication Technologies for Health Service Delivery in Namibia: Perceptions, Technology Choices, and Policy Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa

The Use of Information and Communication Technologies for Health Service Delivery in Namibia: Perceptions, Technology Choices, and Policy Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa

Meke I. Shivute (Polytechnic of Namibia, Namibia) and Blessing M. Maumbe (Eastern Kentucky University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-988-5.ch068
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Abstract

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have transformed health service delivery (HSD) in developing countries although the benefits are not yet fully understood. This chapter examines the use of ICT for HSD in the Namibian context. To obtain insights into the extent and degree of the current ICT uses, the chapter begins by mapping a HSD landscape for Namibia. The reported ICT use patterns are based on a primary survey of 134 patients and key informant interviews held with 27 health service providers (HSPs) in Khomas and Oshana regions of Namibia. The results from the survey indicate that Namibian patients use diverse range of ICT to access health services including the traditional television and radio, and the more modern mobile phones and computers to a limited extent. HSPs reported the growing use of ICT in various functional areas such as admissions, clinical support, family planning, maternity, and emergency services. The chapter identifies key challenges and policy implications to enhance the uptake of ICT-based health services in Namibia. The relatively high penetration rates of traditional ICT such as televisions and radios coupled with a growing use of mobile phones presents new alternative opportunities for expanding HSD to Namibian patients in remote settings. The chapter will benefit HSP and patients as they decide on affordable technology choices; and policy makers as they design interventions to stimulate the use of ICT in HSD in Namibia. The results provide key insights for other Sub-Saharan African countries contemplating ICT integration in health services.

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