Challenges to Health Information Dissemination in Tanzania and the Opportunities Provided by Chatbot in Swahili LanguageAbstract:
Context: To examine challenges to health-literacy with a focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania and to develop a Chatbot for NCDs in Swahili language.
Objective: To examine the challenges of health information dissemination in Tanzania; to analyse the opportunities offered by Chatbot to address the challenges of health information dissemination in Tanzania; to assess the readiness of users on the acceptance of an interactive Chatbot for NCDs in Swahili Language.
Method: Survey was conducted amongst a sample of 100 participants at Wazo ward, Dares-Salam; Chatbot was designed in Swahili and integrated into Facebook Messenger to eliminate the cost of the internet from the end-users.
Results: Challenges to health-literacy includes: inaccurate, inconsistent, untrustworthy, unreliable, untimely, contradictory, and confusing information; popular media such as TV programs and the Internet presents no opportunity for feedback, requests, or clarifications. Others are language barrier; high cost of internet, poor connectivity, the ratio of healthcare providers to patients, poverty, and traditional beliefs. There is a general acceptance of receiving health information through messaging apps.
Conclusions: Chatbot for NCDs in Swahili language ‘afyaBot' could be strategic in affording Tanzanians access to adequate and timely information on NCDs, improve health-literacy, and promoting good health. Stakeholders and public policymakers in the health sector will find the study useful.