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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Health services research and managerial epidemiology
Title Engaging Communities in Commodity Stock Monitoring Using Telecommunication Technology in Primary Health Care Facilities in Rural Nigeria
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2333392815609143
With several efforts being made by key stakeholders to bridge the gap between beneficiaries and their having full access to free supplies, frequent stock-out, pilfering, collection of user fees for health commodities, and poor community engagement continue to plague the delivery of health services at the primary health care (PHC) level in rural Nigeria.

To assess the potential in the use of telecommunication technology as an effective way to engage members of the community in commodity stock monitoring, increase utilization of services, as well as promote accountability and community ownership.

The pilot done in 8 PHCs from 4 locations within Nigeria utilized telecommunication technologies to exchange information on stock monitoring. A triangulated technique of data validation through cross verification from 3 subsets of respondents was used: 160 ward development committee (WDC) members, 8 officers-in-charge (OICs) of PHCs, and 383 beneficiaries (health facility users) participated. Data collection made through a call center over a period of 3 months from July to September 2014 focused on WDC participation in inventory of commodities and type and cost of maternal, neonatal, and child health services accessed by each beneficiary.

Results showed that all WDCs involved in the pilot study became very active, and there was a strong cooperation between the OICs and the WDCs in monitoring commodity stock levels as the OICs participated in the monthly WDC meetings 96% of the time. A sharp decline in the collection of user fees was observed, and there was a 10% rise in overall access to free health care services by beneficiaries.

This study reveals the effectiveness of mobile phones and indicates that telecommunication technologies can play an important role in engaging communities to monitor PHC stock levels as well as reduce the incidence of user fees collection and pilfering of commodities (PHC) level in rural communities.

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