Technology

The Internet provides people in otherwise information starved environment with an unparalleled resource and window on the large world. It facilitates interaction between health professionals and consumers, and manages demand for services; enable health organisation and government update information for more quickly for surveillance (SCIPICH, 1999). Gustafon et al (1999) observed that interactive website providing tailored Reproductive Health Information and other services can be effective in helping client manage diseases, access health services or provide assistance in changing behaviour.

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How have reproductive health professional in Nigeria embrace information communication Technology? American Nurses Association ANA, 2001 and 2003 noted that information communication Technology which has impacted much in reproductive health indeveloped countries has left their counterpart in Nigeria lagging behind.

Moreso Sayki (2003) advocated information communication technology as a panacea to reduce this huge financial cost of training and retraining trainers among reproductive health professionals (for instance, in life saving skills (LSS)) and maintaining the network of professionals.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

This necessitates a vivid assessment of skill capacity of reproductive health professionals in general Hospital, Ikot Ekpene.

Background of the Study:
One of the most conspicuous challenges of health communication in the 21st century is the advent of Information Communication Technology (ICT). The world is undergoing communication revolution (Jackson and Duffy, 1998). Publications, radio and television are now reaching billions of people around the world in what is increasingly becoming a global electronic Communication village. Millions of households across developing countries suddenly have direct unrestricted access to radio, television and the global system for mobile telecommunication (GSM). Databases have also become accessible via the Internet or on CD – ROM, and may replace libraries, go where no libraries ever existed and modify virtually all aspects of healthcare delivery.

This contemporary access to information has according to Akinumiju and Fabumni (1997) revolutionized the way people communicate forging direct links among groups and individuals on a scale never before possible. For instance, Piotrow et al (1997) reported that doctors in China confused by a dying woman’s illness, posted her clinical manifestations on the Internet putting a general call for appropriate diagnosis to hospitals around the globe. Within the same day, a United States doctor sent the correct diagnosis and eighty other doctors confirmed the diagnosis.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

How has this digital divide affected our reproductive health sector? Piotrow et al (1997), observed that access to electronic information is not equal and the gap in access to information between the rich and the poor has widened. Consequently, since those with the greatest need for reproductive health services (especially in rural areas) may have the least access, reproductive health professionals must serve as their advocate to ensure efficient delivery.

Furthermore, many reproductive health programmes depend on accurate information communicated to the public and providers in a sufficiently practical and memorable way that the knowledge will be used when needed. ICT has been noted by Pobjola (1992), to improve access to clinical information and quality of clinical processes by practitioners. It is a viable tool for providers’ knowledge up gradation, quick referral and consulting as well as serves as data bank for reproductive health.

Providing connectivity to fragmented or decentralized health systems, as the case in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State in particular is cost effective and may significantly improve reproductive health outcomes (DOl, 2001). The ability to communicate quickly and directly by cell phone, email, Internet etc has improved supply and referral systems, (especially emergencies), improved epidemiological monitoring systems and reduce isolation, in addition provide for efficiency, save times of both providers and client, improved access to reliable information and opportunities for Nigerian reproductive health professionals and will help put them at per with their counterparts in the rest of the world.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

Thus this research is designed to investigate the information seeking consciousness of reproductive health professionals in General hospital Ikot Ekpene. Besides, attempt is made to assess the Information Communication Technology (ICT) utilization status of these professionals given their background characteristics – remoteness, poor welfare status and poor existing ICT facilities base.

1.2 Problem Statement

Growing evidence demonstrates that ICTs can make significant contribution to reproductive health under the right conditions. Hospitals in Nigeria are increasingly becoming ICT driven and are utilizing certain level of ICT in their operation. And greater access to information and new ideas on reproductive health is inspiring client to ask for and expect more from providers.

The ability of providers to meet these challenges depends on their electronic readiness status. What is the level of awareness/utilization of ICT by reproductive health professionals? What are the information seeking attributes of these professionals?Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

Thus, this research is envisaged to access the utilization status of ICT by Reproductive Health professionals in General hospital, Ikot Ekpene.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to assess information seeking behaviour and ICT utilization status among reproductive health workers in General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene.

The specific objective includes:

To identify the socio-economic profile Reproductive Health Professionals in General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene.
To determine the electronic readiness status of respondents
To determine the effects of available ICT on client care
To assess the ICT utilization and information seeking status of respondents
To identify ways of improving ICT usage status among the respondents.

1.4 Significance of the Study

Concept like electronic Health, electronic consulting, telemedicine, on line discussions and linkages are common in the struggle for efficient reproductive health care globally. This research is conceived to identify the existing information communication Technology gap between providers in the study area and the counterparts elsewhere. Identifying the level of information communication technology awareness and skills of the intended providers will serve and guide appropriate regulatory bodies including the nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria (NMCN) on the most viable approach for introducing computer base health technology in the training curriculum of reproductive health providers.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

Various stakeholders in the reproductive health will be exposed to the training needs of providers, to embrace information communication technology for efficient reproductive health care delivery. Moreso, a vivid assessment of information seeking environment of providers will help promote need for standard libraries and internet connectivity in hospitals. This research is a pioneering effort in information communication technology application in reproductive care. It will serve as a reference material to other researchers and students and may provide the impetus for a more elaborate research.

1.5 Assumption of the Study

For the purpose of this research it is assumed that reproductive health providers are consistent and that information can affect their attitude.

The providers are active, directional and goal oriented

The providers choose freely among alternative information sources in satisfying needs.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study will basically focus on reproductive health professionals – nurse/midwifery gynecologist, obstetricians, family planning providers etc in general hospital Ikot Ekpene. Also the research is mainly focused on computer based Information Communication Technology.

1.7 Limitation

It is limited to the duration of the post basic course academic calendar.
The researcher lacks the financial capability of carrying out a very elaborate research.
Demographic distribution of reproductive health providers in the faculty.
Logistics – support, enumerator etc.
Research Question
What is the socio-economic profile of reproductive health professionals in the hospitals?
What is the electronic readiness status of the professionals?
What are the available ICTS in the hospital?
What are the contributions of available ICT to clients care in the Hospital?
What is the ICT utilization status of reproductive health workers in the hospital?
What is the information seeking status of the professionals?
How can the ICT usage of the professional be improved?

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

It is needful to define the key terms used in the research to facilitate easy understanding. Hence, the following terms are defined.

Information: It is a process for collecting fact or detail for use.

Communication: It is a process of sending or transferring information, ideas, and skills from one person to the other accurately and satisfactorily.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

In today’s medical field technology plays a big role when it comes to patient care. Technology is huge when it comes to giving the patient the best type of quality care when they are in the hospital. In the old days people would just write it down on a sheet of paper and record it by hand, which caused mistakes. Now with the Electronic Health Record those mistakes are drastically declining. Statistics have shown that using the Electronic Health Record has lowered Nursing mistakes as well as improved patient care. Our society has progressed through the years and has been introduced with the Electronic Health Record which has drastically improved our health care system. The Electronic Health Record provides great communication between…show more content…
It can also position nurses to be more proactive by reaching out the patients. With the EHR there is a thing called PHR, which is Person Health Record. Patients fill in their own information and it’s stored in the computers. There is also Tethered or Connected PHR’s that are linked to specific healthcare organizations EHR system and the patient can access it through a secure portal(Jamoom, 2012). With the EHRs and PHRs patients are more active in their illness which makes them feel as if they are in control of it, which is a huge plus for providers. Another big plus of the EHRs is that studies have shown that it has helped providers improve accuracy of diagnoses and health outcomes (Couch, 2008). For example, nurses could have reliable access to patients complete health information and have pictures which would help with whatever problem they might encounter. EHR doesn’t just keep patients medications and allergies, it also check for problems whenever a new medication is prescribed and it also alerts the nurse of potential problems (Couch, 2008). EHRs can also tell the nurse if potential safety problems occur, which helps them avoid more serious consequences for patients, which can lead to better outcomes. The EHRs can also help nurses quickly identify and correct operational problems, which compared to the paper-based setting, those kinds of problems would be more difficult to correct. It can also help Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

Technology: This is the scientific knowledge used in practical way in an industry
Behaviour: The way and manner an individual does things

Seeking: Trying to obtain or achieve something.

E-Health – This is about modern health system technologies to increase the quality, safety, timeliness and efficiency of health services

Information Communication Technology: This describes the use of computer based technology and the Internet in making information and communication services available to wide range of users.

Information Seeking Behaviour: This defines the stimulus that produces anxiety and attitudes in order to find out information on knowledge that is missing.

Reproductive Health: This is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being of an individual and not merely the absent of diseases and infirmity in all matters related to reproductive system and its functions and processes.

The right to health is fundamental to the physical and mental well-being of all
individuals and is a necessary condition for the exercise of other human rights1
including the pursuit of an adequate standard of living. The right to health care
services is provided for in three sections of the South African Constitution. These
provide for access to health care services including reproductive health and
emergency services; basic health care for children, and medical services for detained
persons and prisoners.2
Universal access is provided for in section 27(1)(a) which
states that “Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including
reproductive health care…” Section 27(1)(b) provides for the State to ” take
reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources to achieve the
progressive realisation of the right.” According to the Limburg Principles,
progressive realisation does not imply that the state can defer indefinitely, efforts for
the full realisation of the right. On the contrary, state parties are to “move as
expeditiously as possible towards the full realisation of the right ” and are required to
take immediate steps to provide minimum core entitlements.3
Section 27(3)states that
no one can be denied emergency medical treatment. Section 28(1)(c) provides for
“basic health care services” for children, while section 35(2)(e) provides for “adequate
medical treatment” for detainees and prisoners at the State’s expense.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay
Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESCR) provides for the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical
and mental health conducive to living a life of dignity”.4
This means that health care
facilities, goods and services have to be available in sufficient quantity; must be
physically and economically accessible to everyone, must be ethically and culturally
acceptable, and must be of a medically appropriate quality. 5
According to section 7(2) of the Constitution6
the State is obliged to respect, protect,
promote and fulfil all the rights in the Bill of Rights). In the case of the right to

 

1 General Comment No.14 (2000) The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, (Article 12
of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). UN Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, 2000. para 1
2
Sections 27 (1) (a), (b) &(c); Section 28 (1) (c) and Section 35 (2) (e) of the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996.
3
Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights Para 21 pp 63-78 in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Compilation of Essential
Documents International Commission of Jurists, 1977.
4
The steps to be taken by State Parties to the ICESCR to achieve the full realization of the right to
health include those necessary for the provision of the reduction of the still-birth rate and of infant
mortality and for the healthy development of the child; the improvement of all aspects of
environmental and industrial health; the prevention, treatment and control of epidemics: endemic,
occupational and other diseases; and the creation of conditions which would assure to all, medical
services and medical attention in the event of sickness.
5 General Comment No. 14 of Committee of ESCR, 2000, para 12.
6 Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay
Section 27 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996.
Right to Health – Period: April 2000 – March 2002
96
health, these fourfold obligations are defined in General Comment No.147
and include
the following: The obligation to respect the right, obliges the State to refrain from
denying or limiting access to health care services to any one. These should be
available to all on a non-discriminatory basis. The obligation to protect include, inter
alia, adopting legislation and other measures to ensure equal access to health care
facilities provided by third parties; to ensure that privatisation does not constitute a
threat to the availability, acceptability and quality of services provided; and to control
the marketing of medicines by third parties. The obligation to promote requires the
State to disseminate appropriate information; foster research and support people to
make informed choices. The obligation to fulfil requires that the State facilitates and
implements legislative and other measures in recognition of the right to health and
adopts a national health policy with detailed plans on how to realise the right. The
State is also obliged to provide the right for people in disaster situations or in dire
need when an individual or group is unable, for reasons beyond their control, to
realise that right themselves with the means at their disposal.8
Since 1994 there have been several court cases which have served to add to the
normative content of the right to health care. These have thrown light on the concepts
of “available resources” and “reasonable measures” in terms of section 27 (1) (b) of
the Constitution. In the Soobramoney case9
the Constitutional Court opined that the
scarcity of resources available to the State were constraints to the enjoyment of the
right by the appellants, given the socio-historical context of South Africa. In the
Grootboom case,10 the Constitutional Court defined the parameters of what constitutes
“reasonable measures”. In addition to these, it concluded that measures that do not
include meeting the needs of the most vulnerable groups in society, were
unreasonable. Furthermore, it was stated that implementation plans that failed to be
“reasonable” would not meet the State’s obligations in terms of section 7(2) of the
Constitution. Another important case dealt with the prevention of mother to child
transmission of HIV in which the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) requested that
the anti-retroviral drug, Nevirapine be made available to all HIV positive pregnant
women in the public health sector. In this case the Constitutional Court upheld the
High Court order to make Nevirapine available to all HIV positive pregnant women.11

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This judgement is of great significance given the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the
country and the growing number of AIDS orphans.
The objective of this chapter is to critically assess whether the measures taken by
organs of State comply with constitutional obligations with respect to health care as
outlined above. Responses to the SAHRC’s protocols will be analysed and assessed.
Where the information supplied by organs of state, is incomplete, it will be augmented Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

7
Katarina Tomasevski, “Health Rights” in Asbjorn Eide, Catarina.Krause and Allan Rosas(eds.), in
Economic ,Social and Cultural Rights: A Textbook. Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Press, 1995. p.125.
See also Christof Heyns and Gina Bekker, Christof Heyns and Gina Bekker, “Introduction to the Rights
Concerning Health Care in the South African Constitution,” in Gina Bekker (ed.), A Compilation of
Essential Documents on the Right to Health, Economic and Social Rights Series, Vol 4, Centre for
Human Rights, 2000, p. 14-17.
8 General Comment No. 14 of UN Committee of ESCR, 2000, para 34-37.
9
See Soobramoney v Minister of Health, Kwa-Zulu Natal, 1997 (12) BCLR 1696 (CC).
10 Government of the Republic of South Africa and Others v Grootboom and Others 2000 (11) BCLR
1169 (CC)
11 See Chapter 1 of this Report for a discussion of the Grootboom and TAC cases.
Right to Health – Period: April 2000 – March 2002
97
by information gathered from other reliable sources, such as academic institutions to
facilitate an informed assessment.
The first part of this chapter endeavours to capture the responses from National and
Provincial departments of Health. The second part is devoted to a critique of the
measures instituted by organs of State, followed by recommendations to expedite
access to the right to health care.
2. POLICIES, PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS
Organs of state were requested to list and describe the policies, programmes and
projects instituted during this reporting period and to outline how they respect,
protect, promote and fulfil the right to health care. Responses from National
Department of Health12(NDH) and the provincial departments are summarised below.
Information gathered through independent research has been included to give a more
comprehensive picture of instituted measures.
National Sphere
The National Department of Health (NDH) instituted the National Telemedicine
Policy, the HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan for South Africa 2000-2005 and the National
Policy on Quality of Care during 2000/2001. Policies, programmes and project are
discussed below. 13
The National Telemedicine Policy
The objective of this policy is to deliver health care and tele-education at a distance to
health care workers in rural areas by connecting them to health centres which can
provide these services. An amalgamation of medical schools provide a cost-effective
service which include training and education of health care providers in remote areas.
The system facilitates recruitment and retention of health care providers in rural
communities. Images can be sent from the referring site to the provincial receiving
site or the centre of excellence, which provides medical consultations. The
consultations can be interactive and provide immediate advise to rural centres.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

12 The NDH is responsible for formulating national legislation, policy, guidelines and setting norms and
standards. Implementation and delivery of public health care services are the responsibility of the nine
provinces and local authorities. They may also formulate programmes and projects of their own to
implement policy.
13 The NDH failed to report the HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan, the Human Genetics Policy and the Health
Research Policy for South Africa. In addition, some of the titles of policies and programmes were
inaccurate. e.g. the National Policy of Quality of Care. Additional information was obtained from the
NDH’s Annual Rreport and also its website.
Annual Report 2000, Pretoria, Department of Health, 201. http://www.196.36.153/Department of
Health/norms/contents.html Accessed April 11, 2002
Right to Health – Period: April 2000 – March 2002
98
HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan for South Africa 2000-2005
The objective of the HIV/Strategic Plan is to reduce the number of new HIV
infections and its impact on individuals, families and communities. Priority areas are
prevention, treatment, care, human rights, monitoring and evaluation. The following
programmes have been developed to prevent the spread of AIDS: Sexually
Transmitted Diseases (STD) Management, Reducing Mother to Child Transmission
(MTCT), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and Voluntary Testing and Counselling
(VCT).
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Management
Interventions are clustered into various categories where programmes/projects may be
developed around one or more policies, which have common goals. One of these
interventions is the syndromic management of HIV/AIDS/STIs and TB, which is an
opportunistic infection commonly found in people living with AIDS (PLWA). The
objective is to train health workers to diagnose and to treat a given set of symptoms
effectively. Health workers also contact sexual partners and provide counselling and
education.
Reducing Mother to Child Transmission
MTCT is a pilot project designed to provide anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and breast
milk substitutes (formula milk) to HIV-positive pregnant women in the public health
sector in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the newborn child. Two
pilot sites in each province have been established.
Voluntary Testing and Counselling
The VCT programme provides for confidential testing and counselling at public
health facilities to ascertain a person’s HIV status. The programme will enable
patients to know their HIV status and make informed choices after counselling. The
programme requires trained personnel and funding for rapid AIDS testing. It also
requires a separate space which will ensure privacy and respect for the patient’s right
to confidentiality.
Post- Exposure Prophylaxis
The PEP programme is designed to provide ARVs to health workers who accidentally
become infected with HIV in the workplace. This programme has now been extended
to include all rape victims who can obtain ARVs free of charge at state hospitals.Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay
Home and Community Based Care
Another intervention is the management and care of PLWA, AIDS orphans, as well as
people living with physical or mental disabilities. Home based and community based
care, programmes provide palliative care in the home or at the community level.
These programmes require special training for health workers who visit patients in
their homes and provide appropriate care which will result in the reduction of the
Right to Health – Period: April 2000 – March 2002
99
number of hospital beds occupied by chronic care patients for long periods of time
and also in a reduction of hospital costs.
Life Skills Programme
This is a prevention programmes which includes the distributing of information and
condoms at no cost to target groups who are most at risk of contracting AIDS. The
Life Skills Programmes, which was introduced into the outcomes based curricula in
schools, educates school children around issues surrounding AIDS and how to deal
with them.
Psycho-social Rehabilitation of the Mentally Disabled
The programme for the psycho-social rehabilitation of mentally disabled persons is
designed to de-institutionalise patients from psychiatric hospitals and to encourage
community and home- based care as discussed above.
National Policy on Quality of Care
The NDH has developed a comprehensive set of guidelines to standardise the quality
of primary health care delivery across all the provinces.14

Cervical Screening for Cancer (CS)
This programme is designed to reduce the high number of death from cervical cancer
in women. Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women and can be
treated if diagnosed early. Regular screening serves to detect early onset which can
then be treated.
Maternal Death Notification (MDN)
The latter is designed to record all causes of maternal deaths in order to reduce the
mortality rate and also for statistical purposes so as to improve monitoring.
The Human Genetics Policy
This policy is aimed at testing and counselling couples with genetic disorders, in order
to reduce the incidence of birth defects. It is also aims at ameliorating the
psychosocial and fiscal impact on the individual, the family and society in general.
The objective is to provide a national, PHC-based, medical genetic service for the
diagnosis, management and prevention of genetic disorders and birth defects. The
target population are women of reproductive age, individuals and families at high risk
for genetic disorders and birth defects.15
Health Research Policy in South Africa Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

14 http://www.Department of Health.gov.za/docs/policy/norms/contents.html Accessed February 19,
2002.
15 http://www.Department of Health.gov.za/docs/policy/humangenetics.pdf
Right to Health – Period: April 2000 – March 2002
100
This policy articulates the development of a national health research system which
will contribute to equitable health development and promote innovation in service
delivery. The objective is to advance knowledge that promotes quality health care
through creating a national framework for research that would improve quality,
impact, effectiveness and efficiency of the research.16
The table below summarises key policies/programmes/projects and their
beneficiaries reported by the NDH. 17 Technology Among Reproductive Health Professionals In General Hospital Essay

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