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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Touro: Are Text Messages a Feasible and Acceptable Way to Reach Female Entertainment Workers in Cambodia with Health Messages?

Dr. Carinne Brody, assistant professor and global health track chair, wrote a paper on ” Are Text Messages a Feasible and Acceptable Way to Reach Female Entertainment Workers in Cambodia with Health Messages? A Cross-Sectional Phone Survey” that was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). Two of the authors are Touro University – California MPH Program dual degree students: Ms. Sukhmani Dhaliwal – MPH (current), DO (current) and Mr. Michael Johnson- MPH (current), DO (current).

Dr. Carinne Brody Michael Johnson

[Photo: Dr. Carinne Brody (left) and Mr. Michael Johnson]

Despite great achievements in reducing the prevalence of HIV, eliminating new HIV infections remains a challenge in Cambodia. Entertainment venues such as restaurants, karaoke bars, beer gardens, cafes, pubs, and massage parlors are now considered important venues for HIV prevention efforts and other health outreach interventions. The purpose of this study was to explore phone use and texting practices of female entertainment workers (FEWs) in order to determine if text messaging is a feasible and acceptable way to link FEWs to health services.

This cross-sectional phone survey was conducted in May 2015 with 97 FEWs aged 18–35 years and currently working at an entertainment venue in Phnom Penh.Of the 96 respondents, 51 percent reported sending text messages daily; of them, 47 percent used Khmer script and 45 percent used Romanized Khmer. Younger FEWs were more likely to report daily texting (P<.001). Most FEWs (98 percent) in this study reported feeling comfortable receiving private health messages despite the fact that 39 percent were sharing their phone with others. Younger FEWs were less likely to share their phone with others (P=.02). Of all of the FEWs, 47 percent reported owning a smartphone, and younger women were more likely to own a smartphone than were older women (P=.08).

The findings from this study support the development of mHealth interventions targeting high-risk groups in urban areas of Cambodia. Our data suggest that mHealth interventions using texting may be a feasible way of reaching FEWs in Phnom Penh.

Full article: http://mhealth.jmir.org/2016/2/e52/