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COVID-19 and the Digital Ecosystem: Using a Mobile App to Connect a Rural Community

Published: 17 January 2021

Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease in 2019 disrupted every aspect of human life, threatening the world’s public health system. Most countries accelerated their transition to digital technologies that support healthcare, social activities, learning, and shopping to minimise these disruptions. As COVID-19 propels nations towards the digital economy, epitomising the data age, the digital divide will be more pronounced even within the same country. The transition to the digital space has exposed Africa’s infrastructural deficiencies. Zimbabwe’s rural communities have limited access to information related to COVID-19 due to the unavailability of radio and television reception. In light of limited access to radio, television, and newspaper by rural communities, the study sought to develop a mobile app that can enhance access to information related to COVID-19. The Information System Development Methodology and agile software design principles guided the development of the app. The evaluation results show positive feedback regarding the usefulness and utility of the app. The findings indicate that the participants found the app very easy to remember, easy to learn, and perceived that it satisfied their information access needs. The results can be useful in improving the deployment of digital health solutions targeting rural and remote communities.
Keywords: radio / Africa / transition / APP / television / digital / Disruptions / Limited Access / Information Related / COVID

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