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Mobile Phones and Expanding Human Capabilities in Plural Health Systems

Mobile Phones and Expanding Human Capabilities in Plural Health Systems
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Author(s): Steven Sam (The University of Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 22
Source title: Health Information Systems and the Advancement of Medical Practice in Developing Countries
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Kgomotso H. Moahi (University of Botswana, Botswana), Kelvin Joseph Bwalya (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Peter Mazebe II Sebina (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2262-1.ch006

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Abstract

This chapter explores the integration of mobiles into the local health culture in Sierra Leone to advance healthcare delivery to marginalised communities. It draws on Amartya Sen's capability approach to conceptualise the mobile phone as a potential technology to expand healthcare capabilities in an environment of scarce healthcare resources. It builds on ethnographic data collected through mixed-methods from rural and urban communities to analyse the different actors, dynamics and practices of healthcare behaviours in a plural healthcare system. The analysis shows increasing trends towards mobile phone usage to ease healthcare communication and information poverty. Mobile phones enable marginalised publics to collapse distance and reduce time and health infrastructural constraints to seek healthcare within their abilities. It, however, concludes that to fully harness and maintain sustainable mobile phone-enabled healthcare in Sierra Leone requires the need for an appropriate institutional configuration to foster an integrated healthcare information system management and service delivery.

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