Access to actionable and evidence-based information is an essential element for improved health services and health outcomes, including family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH). While we know that access to useful health information remains limited in the developing world, there is little evidence about the specific information needs at the various level of the health system. To address this gap in the literature, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project and local partners implemented a multi-country qualitative needs assessment in Malawi, India, and Senegal.
At the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning
, K4Health staff shared the results of this study during a panel titled “Meeting Health Information Needs in Family Planning and Reproductive Health: A Multi-Country Assessment.” The presentations from India, Malawi, and Senegal explored:
- Health information needs and preferences;
- Information sources;
- Preferred communication channels;
- Barriers to accessing and using health information; and a
- Available technologies and tools.
Findings from the three countries were presented separately, and then panelists explored similarities and differences among the three country-level findings during the question/discussion session.
, information needs were uniform within each health system level, but varied among health system levels. Technical and practical resources were cited as important and complementary needs. Findings also showed a barrier to information flow just below the district level, where written communication shifts to oral communication. This can result in information bottlenecks, delays, and message distortion.