International Journal of Information Engineering and Electronic Business(IJIEEB)

ISSN: 2074-9023 (Print), ISSN: 2074-9031 (Online)

Published By: MECS Press

IJIEEB Vol.14, No.3, Jun. 2022

Developing an App for Improving Access to COVID-19 Information in Underserved Communities

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Vusumuzi Maphosa

Index Terms

Health Information, Healthcare, Design Science Research, mHealth, COVID-19


The deployment of mobile health (mHealth) apps can transform healthcare in rural and remote communities worldwide. Rural communities in Zimbabwe have limited access to information that affects their health, economic and social being due to structural and social barriers related to the inaccessibility of traditional media. mhealth apps are a valuable tool to monitor disease outbreaks and provide preventative information to the public. Lack of access to COVID-19 information results in high fatalities and public panic, and it is critical to publish reliable and timely information. The study’s objective was to demonstrate the utility of a mHealth app prototype developed to enhance access to COVID-19 information in rural and remote communities in Zimbabwe. The prototype provides COVID-19 information such as statistics, preventative measures, self-diagnostics, social distancing information, and general hygiene to rural communities with limited access to official information channels on the pandemic. A design science research methodology was used to design, build and evaluate the COVID-19 mHealth app and fulfil the study’s objectives. Thirty potential users participated in the evaluation of the prototype. The evaluation results show that potential users perceived that the prototype was useful, engaging, easy to learn, well designed, and provided relevant information. A strong correlation was observed between the design, engagement, functionality, and learnability. More widespread usability and more representative tests should be conducted to ascertain the efficacy and usability of the app. The study contributes literature on usability studies in developing countries. As more mHealth apps are being developed and deployed, more usability tests will be required to ensure that they are fit for purpose. The paper provides a baseline for developing related health information apps. Policymakers, health practitioners, technologists, and scholars can further investigate the deployment of digital technologies to improve healthcare and control the transmission and spread of COVID-19.

Cite This Paper

Vusumuzi Maphosa, " Developing an App for Improving Access to COVID-19 Information in Underserved Communities", International Journal of Information Engineering and Electronic Business(IJIEEB), Vol.14, No.3, pp. 19-29, 2022. DOI: 10.5815/ijieeb.2022.03.03


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