Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Earth Science

Advisor(s)

James Langabeer

Second Advisor

Lee Revere

Third Advisor

Lu-Yu Hwang & Suja Rajan

Abstract

This study used health analytics approach to evaluate the association between population health outcomes and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructures at a country level. This study used aggregate data obtained from the World Bank database, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) database for 53 African countries for the periods 2000 to 2016, and quantitatively explored the impact of ICT infrastructures’ diffusion on population health outcomes.

ICT data was obtained from the ITU database. Similarly, population health attributes were retrieved from the World Bank database. ICT infrastructure variables used in this study include: internet access, mobile phone use, and fixed telephone subscriptions. However, population health outcome variables for this study include: HIV prevalence, access to antiretroviral therapy, Tuberculosis incidence, and mortality rates.

Econometric study methodology involved a Dynamic Panel Model (DPM). Study findings showed that promoting ICT use among the public has opportunities for improving Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV health outcomes. However, the impact of each ICT infrastructures on improving TB and HIV health outcomes differed, which this study inferred to be as a result of different functionalities of the ICT infrastructures, as well as the peculiar features of the health outcomes studied.

This study also did an Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) of TB treatment completion rates among health systems in Africa to help visualize trends and identify patterns, clusters and outliers. It evaluated spatial relationships between mobile phone use and TB treatment completion rates using differential local Moran’s I and bivariate Moran’s I techniques. Study result identified statistically significant positive autocorrelation values for the periods evaluated, as well as varying cluster patterns in TB treatment completion rates. The cluster patterns increased across the three-time periods among geographically referenced data evaluated in this study. This study also identified a direct relationship between mobile phone use and TB treatment completion rates among relevant African countries studied.

Thereby, necessitating the need to strengthen national policies that promote TB and HIV medication adherence and completion using eHealth strategies among African health systems. Another important policy implication of this study for African governments is that investing in eHealth, including educating the masses on ICT use, could be an alternative policy to improve population health.

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