KEY COMMUNICATION AND DEVELOPMENT WEBSITES AND PROJECTS
Kenya Information Gathering on Health Issues
Information Gathering On Health Issues In Kenya
The AudienceScapes survey pinpointed the reach of information about seven key public health issues in Kenya by asking respondents when they last heard a message or received information about each health topic.
Information about HIV/AIDS had reached almost 90 percent of respondents within the last month, but exposure to messages about maternal and infant health, diarrheal diseases and polio was much more limited (Chart 1). Women were somewhat more likely to report having heard messages about maternal and infant health in the last month than were men, but that was still only about half of women surveyed. Conversely, a slightly smaller share of women (87 percent, compared to 90 percent of men, difference significant at the 1 percent level) had received information about HIV in the last month.
Rural residents were significantly less informed about every issue (differences between rural and urban residents’ responses for each issue were significant at the 1 percent level, Table 1), with the biggest gaps showing up in information about family planning (61 percent of rural residents had received information in the last month, compared to 79 percent of urban residents), maternal and infant health (46 percent of rural versus 56 percent of urban residents), and TB (63 percent of rural versus 74 percent of urban residents). Those with no formal education also lagged far behind those with any formal education (Table 2).
Health Information Sources
Messages about these health topics seemed to be passing through a range of sources, with radio, word-of-mouth, doctors, and television being the most important. Very few respondents said they obtained information about any of these topics from the internet or SMS services.
The ranking of sources is similar across the health issues (Charts 2 and 3), with one notable exception: for HIV/AIDS information, TV was cited as a source by a greater share of respondents than medical doctors, and posters/billboards were mentioned by an unusually large share; these unusual patterns are likely the result of intensive public awareness campaigns about HIV/AIDS.
One might assume that the use of various sources is linked to their perceived reputation for delivering trustworthy information, but this is not necessarily the case (Table 3).
In particular, word-of-mouth information about health is far more widespread than its perceived level of trustworthiness might suggest. The flow of information through these channels is not only widespread, but frequent: more than 60 percent of those who had discussed health issues in the last year reported talking about them with friends or family members often or very often. Only 29 percent of the same group had discussed health issues as often with medical doctors, a much more trusted source. This might have been because medical doctors are not easily accessible for more basic information gathering, though 86 percent of all those surveyed said they generally have access to a doctor or other healthcare worker when they are sick or injured (and 94 percent said they have access to a hospital, health center or health clinic).
Respondents’ levels of satisfaction with the health information currently available to them varied by topic, with HIV/AIDS and malaria being most satisfactory and information about maternal and infant health lagging farthest behind (Chart 4).
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