Evaluating the Quality of Malaria-Related Health Information in the Nigerian Internet Context


Background: Patients and public are increasingly relying on Internet for health information. Health care providers are using internet for dissemination of health information. However, health information available on internet is not well regulated, and information quality varies greatly. Malaria is the leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries and has serious health burden around the world. The Internet could become a major resource for malaria education and information in Africa. This may potentially save millions of lives. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the quality of malaria health and treatment information available on the internet provided by the Nigerian context. Methods: Two key terms (malaria & treatment) were entered into three search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Bing. In order to retrieve articles as if the searches were conducted in Nigeria, the Local Area Network (LAN) settings were changed to a Nigerian proxy server, with a local Internet Protocol address. Three raters evaluated the quality of information using the DISCERN [9] instrument criteria. Kendall’s concordance coefficient (W) was calculated to determine the level of agreement among the three raters. Results: Thirty-eight websites evaluated, and the highest inter-rater average score was attributed to the Patient.co.uk website, followed by Wikipedia web site and Malaria Site. The “Home Remedies for You” website received the lowest score. Most evaluated websites were .com domains. The highest average score was given to .co.uk domains while .int had the lowest score. Conclusions: Improving the quality of malaria-related health information could lead to empowering communities, engaging and assisting them to strengthen their health and social information sharing and support.

Share and Cite:

Kate, T. , Douglas, P. , Timothy, D. , Joshi, A. and Islam, K. (2014) Evaluating the Quality of Malaria-Related Health Information in the Nigerian Internet Context. Advances in Infectious Diseases, 4, 42-48. doi: 10.4236/aid.2014.41008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] CDC (2012) Impact of Malaria http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/malaria_worldwide/impact.html
[2] WHO (2012) Global Health Observatory Data Repository. Cases: Reported Cases-Country.
[3] Prudhomme, O.W., Nekesa, M.J., Steketee, R. and Greenwood, B. (2010) Changes in the Burden of Malaria in SubSaharan Africa. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 10, 545-555.
[4] Samba, E. (2001) The Malaria Burden and Africa. In J, G. Breman, A. Egan and G. T. Keusch, Eds., The Intolerable Burden of Malaria: A New Look at the Numbers: Supplement to Volume 64(1) of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Northbrook.
[5] Tagbo, O. and Henrietta, U.O. (2007) Comparison of Clinical, Microscopic and Rapid Diagnostic Test Methods in the Diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Enugu, Nigeria. Nigerian Postgraduate Medical Journal, 14, 285-289.
[6] Hlongwana, K.W., Mabaso, M.L., Kunene, S., Govender, D. and Maharaj, R. (2009) Community Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) on Malaria in Swaziland: A Country Earmarked for Malaria Elimination. Malaria Journal, 8, 29-37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-8-29
[7] UNCTAD (2011) Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development.
[8] Eysenbach, G., Powell, J., Kuss, O. and Sa, E.R. (2002) Empirical Studies Assessing the Quality of Health Information for Consumers on the World Wide Web: A Systematic Review. JAMA, 287, 2691-2700.
[9] Charnock, D., Shepperd, S., Needham, G. and Gann, R. (1999) DISCERN: An Instrument for Judging the Quality of Written Consumer Health Information on Treatment Choices. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 53, 105-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.53.2.105
[10] Charnock, D. (1998) The DISCERN Handbook. Radcliffe Medical Press, Oxon.
[11] Landis, J.R. and Koch, G.G. (1977) The Measurement of Observer Agreement for Categorical Data. Biometrics, 33, 159-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2529310
[12] Rees, C.E., Ford, J.E. and Sheard, C.E. (2002) Evaluating the Reliability of DISCERN: A Tool for Assessing the Quality of Written Patient Information on Treatment Choices. Patient Education and Counseling, 47, 273-275.
[13] Rees, C.E., Ford, J.E. and Sheard, C.E. (2003) Patient Information Leaflets for Prostate Cancer: Which Leaflets Should Healthcare Professionals Recommend? Patient Education and Counseling, 49, 263-272.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.