Exploring the role of telemedicine in improving access to healthcare services by women and girls in rural Nepal

Elsevier, Telematics and Informatics, Volume 34, Issue 7, November 2017, Pages 1166-1176
Authors: 
Rajan Parajuli, Philippe Doneys.

In this study, we explore the role of telemedicine in reducing gender-based barriers women and girls in rural areas of Nepal are facing to access healthcare services. Data were collected through a mixed method consisting of questionnaires survey, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions with mobile phone and video conference-based telemedicine users. Data were analysed through descriptive and thematic analysis. Results revealed that telemedicine reduced travel restrictions, treatment expenses, and apprehension regarding sexual and reproductive health consultation. Moreover, telemedicine decreased travel time, which helps women and girls access timely healthcare services and improve time management for household chores and other activities. The conclusion is that rural telemedicine tends to reduce gender-based barriers for women and girls in accessing healthcare services. Finally, policy recommendations are provided for expanding these initiatives in rural areas.