Impact of information computer technology on primary health care services to rural communities in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

AuthorAnie, Sylvester O.


Health is the state of physical, mental and social well-being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease of infirmity. Primary health care is essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and the country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination.

Primary health care service became a dream come true for the first time in Nigeria in 1975, when Yakubu Gowon, the former Military Head of State announced the Basic Health Service Scheme (BHSS) as part of the Third National Development Plan (1975-80). The objectives of the scheme were to increase the proportion of the population receiving health care from 25 to 66 percent, establish a health care system best adapted to the local conditions and to the level of health technology in this information age (Sorungbe, 1989).

Most of the rural dwellers are not highly educated and most of them understand and speak their dialects only. Experience shows that the ability to acquire and use information is fundamental to the successful implementation of primary health care service scheme especially with the adoption of new technologies. Poor access to information is a major constraint to the primary health care service scheme in rural communities in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, and the situation is aggravated by the high level of illiteracy among the rural dwellers. It's clear evidence that the ability to acquire and use information is a sine qua non for the application of ICT and improvement of primary health care services scheme in all the rural communities in Niger Delta.

Benson (2001) opined that computer literacy by both educated and uneducated have become the most important factor for improved standard of living. There is no effective health education anywhere in the world without the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT). Health education is the passing of health information to people on matters affecting their health for the purpose of change in behaviour. Humphrey (2000) perceived ICT as an unavoidable technology for the improvement of organisation, team and people in the information age. Computer compliance by people according to Humphrey (2000) has become the accelerator for productivity and prosperity. ICTs include electronic networks with complex hardware and software linked by a vast array of technological protocols. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (1999), ICTs cover internet service provision, information technology equipment, library and documentation centres, network based information services and other related communication activities, (Anie and Achugbue, 2009).

Rural dwellers need a wide range of health information access, especially in all areas of primary health care services which include the services of special centres. These special centres are designed to handle special health problems such as tuberculosis, leprosy, disabled, mental illness, mobile clinic, diagnostic services and referral services. The information received helps to enlighten the rural dwellers on the activities of the above mentioned health services centres. In Nigeria, rather than accelerating single steps in the production process, new whole process chains are being targeted for elimination or speeding up. The use of database in processing information enhances effective management of information in manufacturing, agricultural, educational and health sector (Oyebanjo, 1995).

The significance of this study lies in the fact that the findings will enable the rural dwellers in Niger Delta to be acquainted with new ideas and the activities of the...

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