Use of social networking tools in the provision of health information at Dziwani Knowledge Centre: Benefits, impacts and prospects
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In an information age as the current one, the importance and use of social networks cannot be ignored. With various social networking tools being developed, the health sector cannot afford to be conservative in the approaches used for health interventions. Optimum utility of these tools is useful in presenting information that borders on health and wellness that would otherwise be under-utilized owing to its orthodox packaging. The purpose of this paper is to share with colleagues what Afya Mzuri and its Dziwani Knowledge Centre for Health is accomplishing by linking its e-bulletin to social networking tools such as Facebook, the centre's web portal, and blog thus providing an interactive information service that ensures that health information is delivered right to the door-step of the busy professional, the social network youth addict and the health researcher. Dziwani Knowledge Centre for Health is a knowledge management service of Afya Mzuri, a health NGO. It offers information on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Nutrition, Mother and Child Health, Sexual Reproductive Health, Family Planning and life style diseases. The paper also discusses benefits and impacts that the information service is having on communities as is evidenced by success stories documented in the e-bulletin feedback service. Lastly, but not the least, the paper highlights future prospects of Dziwani services in view of the recently launched web portal and an IT system that triggers alerts to subscribers of the e-bulletin accessible on the phone and computer and a campaign that has been launched using various avenues to increase awareness of such services to the average Zambian.