JOURNAL ARTICLE

Knowledge and health information communication in Tanzania

Leonard E G Mboera, Susan F Rumisha, Kesheni P Senkoro, Benjamin K Mayala, Elizabeth H Shayo, W N Kisinza
East African Journal of Public Health 2007, 4 (1): 33-9
17907759

OBJECTIVE: To explore and identify gaps in knowledge and information communication at all levels of health delivery system in Tanzania.

METHODS: In-depth interviews and twelve Focus Group Discussions were conducted to capture information on the community knowledge on different health problems and the health information communication process. Interviews and discussions were also held with primary schoolchildren, traditional healers, health facility workers and district health management team members. Documentary review and inventory of the available health education materials at community, health facility and district levels, was made.

RESULTS: Major community health and health-related problems included diseases (61.6%), lack of potable water (36.5%), frequent famine (26.9%) and lack of health facility services (253%). Malaria, HIV/AIDS and diarrhoeal diseases were the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Most of the health communication packages covered communicable diseases and their prevention. Health care facility was the main (91.6%) source of health information for most communities. Public meetings, radio and print materials were the most frequently used channels of health information communication. Major constraints in adopting health education messages included poverty, inappropriate health education, ignorance and local beliefs.

CONCLUSION: This study has identified gaps in health knowledge and information communication in Tanzania. There is lack of adequate knowledge and information exchange capacities among the health providers and the ability to share that information with the targeted community. Moreover, although the information gets to the community, most of them are not able to utilize it properly because they lack the necessary background knowledge.

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