On Wednesday, November 17, 2010 The Center for Global Development hosted a brownbag seminar entitled Does access to Information Technology change health behaviors in Africa? The seminar featured Julian Jamison, Senior Economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Berk Özler of the World Bank served as the discussant.
Abstract: We evaluated an intervention which allowed individuals to send natural-language text message queries on sexual and reproductive health topics. A keyword search returned one of about 500 predetermined tips with relevant information, as well as the possibility to obtain further information. Communities were randomized to either intensive marketing about the availability and optimal usage of the service or to not learn about its existence. Outcomes were measured via surveys on health knowledge and self-reported health behaviors, using a relatively new method to ask about sensitive sexual behaviors. We also correlated these outcomes with individually-assessed time and risk preferences.