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The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in HIV/AIDS health communication in slums

The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in HIV/AIDS health communication in slums. University Of Nairobi, Ojuondo, George Otieno 2008
Abstract / Summary: 
Information and Communication Technologies are key elements of a civil society response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, enabling advocacy, mobilization, and empowerment of people living with HIV (PLWHA), women, and other vulnerable groups. This study sought to investigate the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in HIV/AIDS Health Communication in slums through a case study of a project sponsored by AfriAfya in Kawangware division, Nairobi, Kenya. The study focused on all the four (4) AfriAfya Project sites in Kawangware Division, Nairobi, where the site officials and headteachers were interviewed. The researcher also conducted direct observations of the sites and uses to complement data collected through the interviews. The researcher also conducted focus group discussion sessions to get balanced data. These involved groups of school children and adult users identified by the CBO officials and the headteachers. The collected data was analyzed by descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequencies and tables. In addition, the researcher used standard deviations and mean scores to present information pertaining to the study objectives. The information was presented and discussed as per the objectives and research questions of the study. The findings of the study indicate that: 1) the ICT tools used in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Kenya are e-mail discussion groups, internet, dissemination of information on World Wide Web (WWW), radio, television, and distance learning systems; 2) the ICT interventions used in the fight against HIV IAIDS in Kenya are aimed at prevention, education and behaviour change communication; and 3) education of health workers. The benefits derived from adoption of ICTs in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Kenyan slums were determined as being social change; empowerment and reduction of vulnerability; advocacy, mobilization, networking and capacity building; remote consultations and diagnosis; information sharing; remote mentoring; facilitation of distance learning teaching; and online counseling. The challenges of adoption of the ICTs in HIV/AIDS Health Communication were established as being: limited connectivity; poor ICT infrastructure status; high costs of accessing the Internet; low levels of awareness and skills of the potential users, technology incompatibility and policy provisions, high costs of buying and maintaining the equipment, high Internet connectivity and access costs; and language barriers. Based on the findings, the researcher recommends that: 1. The information created and disseminated in these informal settlements through ICT should be simple and encoded in the local languages. 2. Utilize alternative sources of electricity to reduce power generation costs through diesel. 3. Train more Community Own Resource Persons (CORPS) to enable them manage the centers; 4. Integrate Income generating activities (lGAs) such as commercial photocopiers and typing services in the resource centers 5. Put up more computers in the resource centers because the demand is very high to avoid congestion; 6. AfriAfya should increase their response speed when requested for information as it is currently very slow; 7. The centers should have library section to allow pupils access books and other materials relevant to the project; 8. Security of the centers should be improved to avoid theft of ICT equipment; and pupils should be supported to visit other ICT centers; and 9. The Government of Kenya should formulate appropriate policies to entrench ICT into education system from primary school level and target all pupils and the management.
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Ojuondo, George Otieno 

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