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Acceptability, Barriers and Facilitators of Mobile Text Message Reminder System Implementation in Improving Child Vaccination: A Qualitative Study in Northwest Ethiopia

Authors Mekonnen ZA, Gelaye KA, Were MC, Tilahun B

Received 19 December 2020

Accepted for publication 23 February 2021

Published 9 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 605—616

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S298167

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Zeleke Abebaw Mekonnen,1,2 Kassahun Alemu Gelaye,3 Martin C Were,4 Binyam Tilahun1

1Department of Health Informatics, Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia; 2Health System Directorate, Federal Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia; 4Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN, 37232, USA

Correspondence: Zeleke Abebaw Mekonnen
P.O. Box: 196, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Tel +251 913747092
Email [email protected]

Background: Mobile phone text message-based mHealth interventions have shown promise in improving health service delivery. Despite the promising findings at a small scale and few contexts, implementing new technologies as part of changes to health care services is inherently challenging. Though there is a potential to introduce mHealth initiatives to health systems of developing countries, existing evidence on the barriers and facilitators of implementation in different contexts is not adequate. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the acceptability, barriers and facilitators of implementing mobile text message reminder system for child vaccination in Ethiopia.
Methods: This study applied a phenomenological study design. The study was conducted in north-west, Ethiopia between July 28 and August 19, 2020. A total of 23 participants were purposively selected for the in-depth and key informant interviews. We used an interview guide to collect data and audio-records of interviews were transcribed verbatim. Coding was done to identify patterns and thematic analysis was conducted using ATLAS ti7 software.
Results: The findings indicated that mothers were receptive to mobile text message reminders for their child’s vaccination. Low mobile phone ownership, access to mobile network, access to electricity and illiteracy among the target population were identified as barriers that would affect implementation. Confidentiality and security-related issues are not barriers to implementation of text message reminders for child vaccination service. Facilitators for implementation include stakeholder collaboration, providing orientation/training to users, and willingness to pay by clients.
Conclusion: In this study, using mobile phone text message reminders for child vaccination services are acceptable by clients. Barriers identified were related to inadequate ICT infrastructure and other technical issues. Addressing the potential barriers and leveraging the existing opportunities could optimize the implementation in resource-limited settings. Before actual implementation, program implementers should also consider providing orientation to users on the proposed mHealth program.

Keywords: acceptability, barrier, facilitator, mHealth, text message, vaccination

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