Mobile Communications, physical distance and access to follow-up healthcare service in Lagos Metropolis

Open access


The widespread use of mobile communications has resulted in a new practice in family and social life, with significant implications for physical distance. This is because mobile communication allows users to overcome spatial issues such as distance to healthcare services, shift to person-to-person connectivity, and the blur boundaries between one point and another. The uneven distribution of healthcare facilities and distances among them has compounded the provision of follow-up care services to healthcare seekers. Therefore, this paper examined the relationship between the use of mobile telephone to access follow-up health-care services and physical distance separating out-patients from healthcare centres. The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model provided the framework for the study. Using a systematic random sampling technique, a structured questionnaire focusing on socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, and income), mobile telephone usage for follow-up healthcare services and its effect on physical distance, was administered on 370 respondents at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, Lagos. Pearson correlation was used to determine the relationship between the physical distance of patients from the hospital and mobile telephone calls for follow-up healthcare services, and the result revealed a strong positive relationship between them (r = 0.898, p ≤ 0.05). The result indicates that 134 patients used mobile telephone to access follow-up health-care services. It was also found that physical distance is responsible for 89.8% of mobile telephone calls for follow-up healthcare services. Continuous use of mobile telephone technology to improve the quality of follow-up health care service provision for patient satisfaction is recommended.

Adejuyigbe, O., 1973: Location of Social Science Centre in Western Nigeria, the case of Medical Facilities. Man and Society, 1, 115-142.

Adejuyigbe, O., 1977: The Location of Rural Basic Health Facilities in Ife-Ijesha Area of South Western Nigeria. Research Report, University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) Ile-Ife.

Aiyegbajeje, F.O., 2016: Mobile Telephone Usage and Physical Accessibility to Tertiary Health Care Services in Lagos Metropolis Nigeria. An Unpublished PhD Thesis Submitted to the Department of Geography, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Aiyegbajeje, F.O., & Ajayi, D.D., 2018: Mobile health communication: Effective reduction of patients’ travel needs to hospitals, International Journal of Health-care Management, Taylor and Francis. 7 pages. DOI: 10.1080/20479700.2018.1434862

Akadiri, O.A, Olusanya, A.A. and Omitola, O.O., 2009: Impact of Improved Telecommunication Services on Health Care Delivery in Nigerian Teaching Hospitals - A Survey of Opinions. Journal of Information Technology Impact. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 125-134, 2009.

Amrita, P., Datta, P., Mbarika, W.A., McCoy, S., and Payton, F. C., 2004: Telemedicine Diffusion in a Developing Country: The case of India (IEEE Transaction on Information Technology in Biomedicine Vol. 9, No. 1, March 2005.

Arcury, T. A., Gesler, W. M., Preisser, J. S., Sherman, J., Spencer, J., & Perin, J., 2005: The Effects of Geography and Spatial Behavior on Health Care Utilization among the Residents of a Rural Region. Health Services Research, 40(1), 135–156.

Aregbeyen, J.B.O., 1992: Health Care Services Utilization in Nigeria Rural Communities: Focus on Otuo Community and Environs in Edo State, NISER Monograph Series, Ibadan.

Barwell, I., 1966: Transport and the Village. World Bank Discussion Africa Region Series. The World Bank, Washington D.C., pp: 344.

Beedasy, J., 2010: “Rural Designations and Geographic Access to Tertiary Healthcare in Idaho.” The Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy 5.2 (2010): 1-21.

Brinkel, J., Krämer, A., Krumkamp, R., May, J., Fobil, J., 2014: Mobile Phone-Based mHealth Approaches for Public Health Surveillance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 11559-11582; doi: 10.3390/ijerph111111559

Buor, D., 2003: Analyzing the Primacy of Distance in the Utilization of Health Services in the Ahafo-Ano South District, Ghana. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 18(4): 293-311.

Claudia, C., Santana, P., Freitas, P., Almendra, R., and Loureiro, A., 2011: The construction of a Geographical Information System to support health Care Decisions: Measuring Access to health Care in Sao Tome e Principe. Geografia y Sistemas de Informacion Geografica (GEOSIG). Lujan, Ano 3, Numero 2, 2011, Seccion Articulos: 1 pp. 1-21

Coeytaux, F., Leornard, A. & Bloomer, C., 1993: Abortion: Scope and Magnitude of the Problem. In M. Koblinsky, J. Timyan & J. Gay (Eds). The Health of Women: A Global Perspective. Boulder, Westview Press: 217-234.

Cox, P. and Scott, R., 2002: The Official Report of the 1st Asia Pacific Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care.

Currell R, Urquhart C, Wainwright P, Lewis R., 2010: Telemedicine versus Face to Face Patient Care: Effects on Professional Practice and Health Care Outcomes (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Daly, A., 1975: Measuring Accessibility in Rural Content. A Transport Seminar Paper, White Transport Studies Group, Polytechnic of Central London, London.

Donner, J., 2004: Innovation in Mobile-Based Public Health Information Systems in the Developing World: An Example from Rwanda. The Center for Global health and Economics Development. The Mailman School of Public Health. The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Draft Document for Workshop on Mobile Technologies and Health: Benefits and Risks. Udinese (Italy), 7-8 June, 2004. Ericsson and the Earth Institute Columbia University, 2010: Millennium Villages Project: The Impact of Mobile Connectivity on the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. The Earth Institute Columbia University, USA. 2009.

Fishman, J., McLafferty, S. and Galanter, W., 2018: Does Spatial Access to Primary Care Affect Emergency Department Utilization for Nonemergent Conditions? Health Serv Res, 53: 489–508. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12617

Franklin, V.L., Waller, A., Pagliari, C., Greene, S.A., 2006: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Sweet Talk, a Text-Messaging System to Support Young People with Diabetes. Diabet Med. 2006: 23(12): 1332–1338.

Freng, I. L., Sherrington, S., Dicks, D., Gray, N., and Chang, T. T., 2011: Mobile communication for medical care.

Friedman R, Kazis L, Jette A, Smith M, Stollerman J, Torgerson J., 1996: A Telecommunications System for Monitoring and Counseling Patients with Hypertension.

Impact on Medication Adherence and Blood Pressure Control. American Journal of Hypertension 1996; 9 (4 Part 1): 285–292.

Golob, T.F., and Reagan, A.C., 2001: Impacts of Information Technology on Personal Travels and Commercial Vehicle Operations: Research Challenges and Opportunities. Transportation Research C. 9(29): 87-121.

Hamer, L., 2004: Improving Patient Access to Health Services: A National Review and Case Studies of Current Approaches. Health Development Agency, London. UK.

Idowu B., Ogunbodede, E. and Idowu, B., 2003: Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: The Health Sector Experience. Journal of Information Technology Impact, Vol.3, No 2, pp. 69-76, 2003.

Idowu, P.A., and Ajayi, S.A., 2008: GSM Based Referral System for Primary Health Care Centres in Nigeria. International Journal of Soft Computing 3 (6): 421-427, 2008.Medwell Journals.

Isola, S., 2012: The Use of Mobile Telephone in reducing Pre-Natal Maternal Mortality: Case Study of Abiye (Safe Motherhood) Project in Ondo State, South-West Nigeria. Retrieved From:

Kanugantia, S., Sarkarb, A.K., and Singhc, A.P., 2016: Quantifying Accessibility to Health Care Using Two-step Floating Catchment Area Method (2SFCA): A Case Study in Rajasthan. 11th Transportation Planning and Implementation Methodologies for Developing Countries, TPMDC 2014, 10-12 December 2014, Mumbai, India. Transportation Research Procedia 17 (2016): 391 – 399. ScienceDirect, Elesevier

Kitamura, R., Nilles, J., Flemming, D., and Conroy, P., 1990: Telecommunication as a Transportation Planning Measure: Initial Results of State California Pilot Project. Transportation Research Record 1285: 98-104

Kwan, M.P., and Weber, J., 2003: Individual Accessibility Revisited: Implications for Geographical Analysis in the Twenty-First Century. Geographical Analysis 35:341–53.

Linard C, Gilbert M, Snow R.W., Noor A.M., Tatem A.J., 2012: Population Distribution, Settlement pattern and Accessibility across Africa in 2010. Plos One 7 (2): e31743. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031743

Logan, A.G., McIsaac, W.J., Tisler, A., 2007: Mobile Phone-Based Remote Patient Monitoring System for Management of Hypertension in Diabetic Patients. Am J Hypertens. 2007: 20(9): 942–948.

Luis Antonio dos Anjos and Cabral, P., 2016: Geographic accessibility to primary healthcare centers in Mozambique. Int J Equity Health. 2016; 15:173. Doi 10.1186/s12939-016-0455-0

Menon-Johansson, A.S., McNaught, F., Mandalia, S., Sullivan, A.K., 2006: Texting Decreases the Time to Treatment for Genital Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection. Sex Transm Infect. 2006:82 (1):49–51.

National Co-Ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organization R & D (NCCSDO) (2001). Access to Healthcare. Public Health Services Research Group, Department of Public Health Sciences, GKT School of Medicine, King’s College London, Capital House,42 Weston Street, London SE1 3QD.

Nigeria Communication Commission., 2018: Nigeria’s Mobile Density Hits 110%. The Communicator.

Odusote, A.O., 2010: ICT for Public Health Care Delivery in Nigeria: Challenges, Opportunities and Milestones Paper presented at the e-Nigeria 2010 Conference.

Okafor, F.C., 1984: Accessibility to General Hospital in Rural Bendel State, Nigeria. Soc. Sci., Med., 8: 661-666.

Okonji, E., 2017: Nigeria’s Teledensity Soars, Hits 110.9% in Six years. ThisDay Newspaper, 30 March, 2017

Okoro, E.O., Sholagberu, H.O, and Kolo, P.M., 2010: Mobile Phone Ownership among Nigerians with Diabetes. African Health Sciences 2010; 10(2): 182-185

Okuboyejo, S.R., Ikhu-Omoregbe, N.A, and Mbarika, V.A., 2012: Design and Implementation of a Voice-based Medical Alert System for Medication Adherence in Nigeria. Afr J Comp & ICT, 2012, 5(5), 151-158

Oritz, E., and Clancy, C.M., 2003: Use of Information Technology to Improve the Quality of Health Care in the United States. Health Services Research, 38(2), 11-22.

Patrick, K., Griswold, W.G., Raab, F., and Intille, S.S., 2008: Health and the Mobile Phone. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 35(2): 177–181.

Pearson, M. J., 2000: Uganda Country Health Briefing Paper. A paper produced for the Department for international development by IHSD. London, IHSD L

Penchansky, R., Thomas, J.W., 1981: The Concept of Access: Definition and Relationship to Consumer Satisfaction. Medical Care, 19, 127-140.

Peters, D.H., Garg, A., Bloom, G., 2008: Poverty and Access to Healthcare in Developing Countries. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1136: 161-71

Russell, D.J., Humphreys, J.S., Bernadette, W., Chisholm, M., Buykx, P., McGrail, M., and Wakerman, J., 2013: “Helping Policy-Makers Address Rural Health Access Problems.” The Australian Journal of Rural Health 21 (2): 61–71. doi:10.1111/ajr.12023.

Ryan, D., Cobern, W., Wheeler, J., 2005: Mobile Phone Technology in the Management of Asthma. J Telemed Telecare. 2005: 11(1S): 43–46.

Stock, R., 1988: Distance and the utilization of health facilities in rural Nigeria. Soc Sci Med. 1983; 17(9):563-70.

Tanser F., Gijsbertsen B., and Herbst K., 2006: Modelling and understanding primary health care accessibility and utilization in rural South Africa: an exploration using a geographical information system. Soc Sci Med. 2006 Aug; 63(3): 691-705. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Venkatesh, V., Michael G. Morris, and Davis, F.D., 2003: User Acceptance of IT. MIS Quarterly Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 425-478/September 2003 425.

WHO Report, 1997: Improving the Performance of Health Centers in District Health System. Report of WHO Study Group, Geneva.

Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series

The Journal of Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.63

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.277
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.391


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 104 104 38
PDF Downloads 73 73 23