Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Steve Harmon

Second Advisor

Wanjira Kinuthia

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah

Fourth Advisor

Joyce King

Abstract

Mobile health (mHealth) message design strategies for low and middle-income countries (LMICs) have quickly gained acceptance in the field of health education. mHealth initiatives focusing on maternal health are frequently implemented with the aim of providing access to information while improving maternal health practices. Within Ghana, access to relevant health information and hospital care within rural settings remain scarce for the majority of citizens (WHO, 2011). However, with the rapid rate of mobile phone adoption, delivering learning opportunities in conjunction with mobile devices may be promising for many individuals in Ghana. The purpose of this study was to examine message design inputs influencing expecting mothers’ maternal health activity. McGuire’s communication-persuasion theoretical framework informed the mix-methods study. I used participatory rapid appraisal techniques while carrying out the study with research team members. I employed surveys to collect quantitative data. To gather qualitative data I engaged in open-ended survey questions, interviews (one-on-one and focus groups), a journal and team reflections. The findings revealed that participants from two communities in Northern Ghana in rural settings had several inputs in the message design which may influence expecting mothers. These include; information source, design and delivery, power dynamics and personal circumstances, and perceived gains. The findings highlight that for many mHealth projects in LMIC's, there is an urgent need to reexamining the culture attributes of the users' local environment. These findings also address critical aspects of a real world problem with intent to support rural community development in Northern Ghana with goals to alleviate the lack of academic knowledge by providing an insider’s perspectives regarding community insights.

Available for download on Friday, September 20, 2019

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