Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 569

Review

Is mobile health (mHealth) the magic bullet? A short review of the impact of mHealth on adolescent sexual health

Chukwuemeka Austin Ihesie
  • Chukwuemeka Austin Ihesie
  • Department of Community Health, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 03 April 2015
  •  Accepted: 15 June 2015
  •  Published: 31 August 2015

Abstract

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) remains a major public health and developmental issue worldwide. The stage of adolescence is typically characterised by a desire for information, curiosity and experimentation. Adolescent social interactions, relationships and sexual behaviour are intimately linked to information available to them during this transition period and ASRH programmes deliver sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information through a varying number of intervention strategies. The proliferation of mobile phones ownership and use across all populations worldwide has created opportunities for new interventions in health. Its use in SRH especially for adolescents and young people has been researched in a number of studies. This article explores the potential and impact of the use of mobile health (mHealth) for ASRH promotion. This study is a literature review based on analysis of secondary data from published literature. An electronic database search was conducted on Global health, Web of science, Popline, PubMed and Google-scholar. Findings of the review show that most published studies on mHealth interventions were from developed countries. The mHealth based interventions recorded positive effects on improving knowledge and promoting some aspects of positive sexual behaviour like sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and seeking SRH information. However, the effect on other aspects of sexual behaviour like condom use and sex-partner behaviour was inconsistent. It is concluded that mobile phones can be an effective tool for engaging with adolescents concerning their SRH however, further research with randomised controlled trials are encouraged with special focus on adolescents in developing countries.

 

Key words: Adolescent, reproductive health, mobile phones, mHealth.