Determinants of use of mobile phones for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) education and prevention among adolescents and young adult population in Ghana: implications of public health policy and interventions design

Robert Kaba Alhassan, Abdulai Abdul-Fatawu, Belinda Adzimah-Yeboah, Worlali Nyaledzigbor, Samuel Agana, Prudence Portia Mwini-Nyaledzigbor

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a major public health challenge globally especially among adolescents and young adults in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa including Ghana. In light of this, mobile phone innovations are advocated to enhance public health education and prevention of STIs in developing health systems.
Objective
This study assessed mobile phone usage among adolescents and young adult populations pursuing tertiary education and their use of these technologies in the education and prevention of STIs.
Method
This was a cross-sectional analytical study among 250 adolescents and young adults aged 18–24 at Ghana’s premier and biggest public University. The study was however conducted in only one public university in the Greater Accra region which potentially poses generalizability challenges due to socio-cultural and economic differences in other regions of the country. Data was collected using structured questionnaire and data analysis
done with STATA (version 12.0). Univariate probit regression (VCE, Robust) analysis was used to determine factors associated with adolescents and young adult population’s usage of mobile phones in the education and prevention of STIs.
Results
Out of the 250 adolescents and young adults interviewed, 99% owned mobile phones. Out of this number, 58% them were smartphone users. Also, it was found that male young adults (Coef. = 1.11, p = 0.000) and young adults who owned a smartphone (Coef. = 0.46, p = 0.013) were more likely to use mobile phones for education and prevention of STIs.
Conclusion
Mobile phone penetration among young adults is nearly 100% in line with the national trend. Additionally, these young adults largely believe in the use of mobile phone programmes for STIs education and prevention. Moreover, respondents were found to be more comfortable using mobile applications than traditional text messaging or phone calls in STIs education and prevention. Future mobile phone programmes for STIs education and prevention should consider innovating customized mobile applications to promote acceptability by the youth and enhance sustainability of such interventions on STIs in Ghana. Even though this study was conducted in only one public university in Ghana, the findings are nonetheless informative and future researchers could consider using a larger sample size across private and public universities in other regions of the country.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Health
Volume16
Early online date9 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Education
  • Ghana
  • Mobile phones
  • Population
  • Prevention
  • Public health
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Adolescents
  • Undergraduate
  • Young adult

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