Equal Access to Health Information in Africa: A Dream or Reality?

10 Oct 2019

Many governments in Africa are committed to equal access to health. This requires well-resourced health systems. People need health information even though many factors mar the attainment of the right to information as set out in various constitutions. People need information on prevention, care and treatment of various diseases and illnesses. With advances in information and communications technology access to health information has improved even though it is not for all. It has been noted that certain diseases affect the rich and the poor differently and that both do not access same health facilities. This divide indicates that there is poor quality health information due to the nature of health system. The rich have access to quality health information while the poor have no access or when it is available it is of poor quality. What is essential is for governments to provide equal access to the right health information, at the right time and in the right formats irrespective of social, economic and geographical status. People should be able to reach clinics and hospitals when they need information and alternatively access libraries. The conceptual framework for the study is based on Buckland's six aspects of access which serves as a barometer in terms of guaranteeing that all people are equally served. The paper used document analysis by referring to health sources such as books, magazines, journals and health reports emanating from various health stakeholders. The results of this paper show that poor people in rural areas do not have equal access to health information due to social and economic factors. The study also revealed that many governments are struggling to provide equal access to health information for all citizens. The paper concludes by suggesting how equal access to health information may be improved