Internet use among primary care patients attending a tertiary health facility in Uyo, south-south Nigeria

  • A.E. Etukumana
  • L. Egwuda
  • J.A. Chukwudi
  • N. Andem
  • G. Udoh


Background: Global attention is being drawn to the use of internet resource because of its overwhelming benefits. Individuals, families, social groups, patients as well as research teams spend quality time on a daily basis exploring the internet.
Objective: We carried out a study to determine internet use among primary care patients attending a tertiary health facility in Uyo, Nigeria.
Methods: Using structured questionnaire, a cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out among primary care patients attending University of Uyo Teaching  Hospital, Uyo, Nigeria .The enrolled 290 respondents were 132(45.5%) males and 158(54.5%) females with male to female ratio of 1:1.2. The mean ± standard  deviation of the respondents' age was 37±12.2 years. One hundred and seventeen (40.3%) respondents used the internet. Only 29 (24.8%) of the respondent used the internet for health information. Internet use was higher among men (48.5%) compared to 33.5%women(X2= 6.06; P = 0.013). Young respondents (£ 40years) were more likely to use the internet than the older ones(X2 = 58.45; P<0.001). Respondents with high level of education (99.1%) used the internet more than those with low level of education (X2 = 102.31; P<0.001). Similarly, internet use was higher among the unmarried (60.68%) respondents compared to their married (39.32%) counterparts (X2 = 13.49; P<0.001). Most (85.47%) of the respondents who reported excellent/good health condition were internet users while those  (14.53%) with fair/poor health condition did not use the internet (X2 =26.77; P<0.001).Respondents who do not use the internet were more likely to report chronic ill-health (78.7%) than internet users (X2 =18.50; P<0.001).
Conclusion: The percentage of the primary care patients that used internet in this study was less than average (40.3%) and only few (24.8%) use it for health  information. Factors identified to be associated with internet use were male gender, younger age, high level education, unmarried, excellent/good health perception and the absence of chronic ill-health. Efforts should be made to create public awareness on the merits of internet use especially among patients. Health education focusing on internet use should be carried out among primary care patients.

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print ISSN: 2141-9884