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Abstract

Despite the availability of free health services, children residing in Sri Lanka’s less developed plantation sector are more likely to be undernourished than children in urban and rural sectors. Hence, we need new approaches to improve their nutritional status. One promising approach involves mobile health initiatives, which is used effectively in other countries in primary health care settings. We studied the nature of mobile phone use in this community, and their perceptions on using m-health counseling for infant and young child feeding. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were the study methods. We found that mobile phone usage is common in this community hence; m-health platform could be a promising initiative to strengthen the existing face to face nutritional advice provided by the field health workers to improve the nutritional status of children.

Keywords

Asia, South, Children, Growth and Development, Communication, Health Promotion, Malnutrition, M-Health

Author Bio(s)

Manuj C. Weerasinghe, MD, is a senior lecturer at the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: manuj@commed.cmb.ac.lk.

Upul Senarath, MD, is a senior lecturer at the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: upul@commed.cmb.ac.lk.

Sanjeeva Godakandage, MD, is a consultant community physician at the Family Health Bureau, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: sspgodakandage@yahoo.com.

Hiranya Jayawickrama, MD, is a consultant community physician at the Family Health Bureau, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: senanij@hotmail.com.

Aravinda Wickramasinghe, MSc, is a Medical Officer at the Office of the Senior Assistant Secretary (Medical Services) and Health Economics Cell, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: aravinda2000al@gmail.com.

Indika Siriwardena, MEcon, is a senior scientist, National Science and Technology Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: indikaips@gmail.com.

Srisothinathan Nimalan, MBBS, is a research assistant, at the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: sri.nimalan1988@gmail.com.

Michael J. Dibley, MPH , is professor in global public health nutrition, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: michael.dibley@sydney.edu.au.

Ashraful Alam, PhD, is a post doctoral fellow at Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: neeloy.alam@sydney.edu.au.

Acknowledgements

The authors disclosed receipt of financial support for the research from AusAID under the Public Sector Linkages Programme through University of Sydney. We thank Professor Steven Albert, University of Pittsburgh, USA for valuable comments on the manuscript and the editorial support. We also acknowledge the support provided by Dr. M. K. D. Senanayake and Dr. Nimal Gamagedara, of Provincial Director of Health Services, Uva Province; Dr. Ravi Nanayakkara and Mr. Athula Ekanayake of, Plantation Human Development Trust.

Publication Date

5-15-2016

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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