Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive mHealth Sexual Information Texting Service in Uganda
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - Research Department
Dean S. Karlan
Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Yale University - Department of Political Science
May 1, 2013
Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 1025
Yale Economics Department Working Paper No. 116
We evaluate the impact of a health information intervention implemented through mobile phones, using a clustered randomized control trial augmented by qualitative interviews. The intervention aimed to improve sexual health knowledge and shift individuals towards safer sexual behavior by providing reliable information about sexual health. The novel technology designed by Google and Grameen Technology Center provided automated searches of an advice database on topics requested by users via SMS. It was offered by MTN Uganda at no cost to users. Quantitative survey results allow us to reject the hypothesis that improving access to information would increase knowledge and shift behavior to less risky sexual activities. In fact, we find that the service led to an increase in promiscuity, and no shift in perception of norms. Qualitative focus groups discussions support the findings of the quantitative survey results. We conclude by discussing a potential mechanism explaining the counterintuitive findings.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: information technology for development, mhealth, ICT4D, sexual health
JEL Classification: D13, O12, O31, O33
Date posted: June 1, 2013
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