Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive mHealth Sexual Information Texting Service in Uganda

36 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2013  

Julian C. Jamison

World Bank Global Insights Initiative; Innovations for Poverty Action

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)

Pia Raffler

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: information technology for development, mhealth, ICT4D, sexual health

JEL Classification: D13, O12, O31, O33

Suggested Citation

Jamison, Julian C. and Karlan, Dean S. and Raffler, Pia, Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive mHealth Sexual Information Texting Service in Uganda (May 1, 2013). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 1025; Yale Economics Department Working Paper No. 116. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2272746

Julian C. Jamison

World Bank Global Insights Initiative ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-817-4942 (Phone)

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Dean S. Karlan (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ( email )

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Pia Raffler

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

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