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Original Research

Health Information Needs and Reliability of Sources Among Nondegree Health Sciences Students: A Prerequisite for Designing eHealth Literacy

Authors:

Hussein Haruna ,

Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
About Hussein
PhD Candidate
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Ndumiso Tshuma,

Community AIDS Response, Norwood, Johannesburg, South Africa; School of Health Sciences, Monash University South Africa, Ruimsig, Johannesburg, South Africa
About Ndumiso
PhD Candidate
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Xiao Hu

Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
About Xiao
PhD
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Abstract

Background

Understanding health information needs and health-seeking behavior is a prerequisite for developing an electronic health information literacy (EHIL) or eHealth literacy program for nondegree health sciences students. At present, interest in researching health information needs and reliable sources paradigms has gained momentum in many countries. However, most studies focus on health professionals and students in higher education institutions.

Objective

The present study was aimed at providing new insight and filling the existing gap by examining health information needs and reliability of sources among nondegree health sciences students in Tanzania.

Method

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 15 conveniently selected health training institutions, where 403 health sciences students were participated. Thirty health sciences students were both purposely and conveniently chosen from each health-training institution. The selected students were pursuing nursing and midwifery, clinical medicine, dentistry, environmental health sciences, pharmacy, and medical laboratory sciences courses. Involved students were either in their first year, second year, or third year of study.

Results

Health sciences students' health information needs focus on their educational requirements, clinical practice, and personal information. They use print, human, and electronic health information. They lack eHealth research skills in navigating health information resources and have insufficient facilities for accessing eHealth information, a lack of specialists in health information, high costs for subscription electronic information, and unawareness of the availability of free Internet and other online health-related databases.

Conclusion

This study found that nondegree health sciences students have limited skills in EHIL. Thus, designing and incorporating EHIL skills programs into the curriculum of nondegree health sciences students is vital. EHIL is a requirement common to all health settings, learning environments, and levels of study. Our future intention is to design EHIL to support nondegree health sciences students to retrieve and use available health information resources on the Internet.

How to Cite: Haruna, H., Tshuma, N. and Hu, X., 2017. Health Information Needs and Reliability of Sources Among Nondegree Health Sciences Students: A Prerequisite for Designing eHealth Literacy. Annals of Global Health, 83(2), pp.369–379. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2017.03.516
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Published on 11 May 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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