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Quantifying the impact of accessibility on preventive healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa using mobile phone data

Wesolowski, Amy, O’Meara, Wendy Prudhomme, Tatem, Andrew J., Ndege, Samson, Eagle, Nathan and Buckee, Caroline O. (2015) Quantifying the impact of accessibility on preventive healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa using mobile phone data Epidemiology, 26, (2), pp. 223-228. (doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000239).

Record type: Article


Background: Poor physical access to health facilities has been identified as an important contributor to reduced uptake of preventive health services and is likely to be most critical in low-income settings. However, the relation among physical access, travel behavior, and the uptake of healthcare is difficult to quantify.

Methods: Using anonymized mobile phone data from 2008 to 2009, we analyze individual and spatially aggregated travel patterns of 14,816,521 subscribers across Kenya and compare these measures to (1) estimated travel times to health facilities and (2) data on the uptake of 2 preventive healthcare interventions in an area of western Kenya: childhood immunizations and antenatal care.

Results: We document that long travel times to health facilities are strongly correlated with increased mobility in geographically isolated areas. Furthermore, we found that in areas with equal physical access to healthcare, mobile phone-derived measures of mobility predict which regions are lacking preventive care.

Conclusions: Routinely collected mobile phone data provide a simple and low-cost approach to mapping the uptake of preventive healthcare in low-income settings.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 October 2014
Published date: March 2015
Organisations: Global Env Change & Earth Observation, WorldPop, Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)


Local EPrints ID: 374197
ISSN: 1044-3983
PURE UUID: fa7f80ea-5f6b-4b98-a1a5-8f118db37eed
ORCID for Andrew J. Tatem: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 10 Feb 2015 11:34
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:28

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Author: Amy Wesolowski
Author: Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara
Author: Andrew J. Tatem ORCID iD
Author: Samson Ndege
Author: Nathan Eagle
Author: Caroline O. Buckee

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