African Health Sciences

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Use of personal digital assistants for data collection in a multi-site AIDS stigma study in rural south Nyanza, Kenya

MA Onono, N Carraher, RC Cohen, EA Bukusi, JM Turan


Objectives: To describe the development, cost effectiveness and implementation of a PDA based electronic system to collect, verify and manage data from a multi-site study on HIV/AIDS stigma and pregnancy in a rural, resource-poor area. Methods: We worked within a large prevention of mother-to-child- transmission (PMTCT) program in nine rural health facilities to implement a PDA-based data collection system and to study the feasibility of its use in a multisite HIV research study in rural Kenya. The PDAs were programmed for collecting screening and eligibility data, and responses to structured interviews on HIV/AIDS stigma and violence in three local languages. Results: Between November 2007 and December 2008, nine PDAs were used by Clinic and Community Health Assistants to enrol 1,270 participants on to the PMTCT program. Successes included: capacity-building of interviewers, low cost of implementation, quick turnaround time of data entry with good data quality, and convenience. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing PDAs for data collection in a multi-site observational study on HIV/AIDS stigma conducted in remote rural health facilities in Kenya. However, appropriate and frequent data backup protocols need to be established and paper forms are still needed as backup tools in resource-poor settings.

Keywords: Personal Digital Assistants, Developing countries, multisite studies, feasibility, cost effectiveness

African Health Sciences 2011; 11(3): 464 - 473

AJOL African Journals Online