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Evaluating the Quality of Malaria-Related Health Information in the Nigerian Internet Context

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DOI: 10.4236/aid.2014.41008    3,684 Downloads   5,287 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: Patients and public are increasingly relying on Internet for health information. Health care providers are using internet for dissemination of health information. However, health information available on internet is not well regulated, and information quality varies greatly. Malaria is the leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries and has serious health burden around the world. The Internet could become a major resource for malaria education and information in Africa. This may potentially save millions of lives. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the quality of malaria health and treatment information available on the internet provided by the Nigerian context. Methods: Two key terms (malaria & treatment) were entered into three search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Bing. In order to retrieve articles as if the searches were conducted in Nigeria, the Local Area Network (LAN) settings were changed to a Nigerian proxy server, with a local Internet Protocol address. Three raters evaluated the quality of information using the DISCERN [9] instrument criteria. Kendall’s concordance coefficient (W) was calculated to determine the level of agreement among the three raters. Results: Thirty-eight websites evaluated, and the highest inter-rater average score was attributed to the Patient.co.uk website, followed by Wikipedia web site and Malaria Site. The “Home Remedies for You” website received the lowest score. Most evaluated websites were .com domains. The highest average score was given to .co.uk domains while .int had the lowest score. Conclusions: Improving the quality of malaria-related health information could lead to empowering communities, engaging and assisting them to strengthen their health and social information sharing and support.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Kate, T. , Douglas, P. , Timothy, D. , Joshi, A. and Islam, K. (2014) Evaluating the Quality of Malaria-Related Health Information in the Nigerian Internet Context. Advances in Infectious Diseases, 4, 42-48. doi: 10.4236/aid.2014.41008.

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