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Tackling low digital and health literacy among the elderly in rural India: PRmoment Health Communications Review

PRmoment's weekly 'Healthcare Communications Review' column looks at the biggest healthcare trends every week and analyses the communications implications. In partnership with SPAG, A Finn Partners Company.

India's ageing population in Rural India

India's youth is often cited as its population dividend, providing the dual benefit of an emerging workforce and aspiring consumers. 

At the same time, India also has a 60-plus population ( 104 million or 8.6 %of the population) that is steadily increasing in number per this article in Mint. Government and agency projections indicate that ageing is expected to be one of the biggest concerns in the coming decades.

Digital health access for older adults in rural areas

Ensuring health access will also be a big challenge exacerbated by the digital movement of health. This movement makes digital literacy of the elderly especially in the rural regions of India an important skill. According to a study titled, 'Exploring Telehealth Readiness in a Resource Limited Setting: Digital and Health Literacy among Older People in Rural India (DAHLIA)' 71% of older adults reside in India. 

The study indicated low rates of digital (11%) and health literacy (3-27% across domains) were identified. Mobile phone ownership was 50%, but very few owned or used a smartphone and less than 10% used the Internet to contact health professionals. Qualitative analysis found low technology usage, driven by limited exposure and confidence in using digital devices. Barriers to usage included poor traditional literacy and physical aspects of ageing like poor vision.

The study recommended social support from neighbours, family and local primary healthcare staff as channels that may enable the adoption of digital health.

News Capsule

The Hindu says male-centric medicines are impacting women's health

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That's it for this week. Special thanks to SPAG, a FINN Partner company for their ongoing support for this weekly column.




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