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Information needs and seeking behaviour among health professionals working at public hospital and health centres in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Mulusew Andualem1*, Gashaw Kebede2 and Abera Kumie3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Informatics, Institute of Public Health, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

2 School of Information Science, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

3 School of Public health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:534  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-534

Published: 27 December 2013



Universal access to information for health professionals is a need to achieve “health for all strategy.” A large proportion of the population including health professionals have limited access to health information in resource limited countries. The aim of this study is to assess information needs among Ethiopian health professionals.


A cross sectional quantitative study design complemented with qualitative method was conducted among 350 health care workers in Feburary26-June5/2012. Pretested self-administered questionnaire and observation checklist were used to collect data on different variables. Data entry and data analysis were done using Epi-Info version 3.5.1 and by SPSS version19, respectively. Descriptive statistics and multivariate regression analyses were applied to describe study objectives and identify the determinants of information seeking behaviours respectively. Odds ratio with 95% CI was used to assess the association between a factor and an outcome variable.


The majority of the respondents acknowledged the need of health information to their routine activities. About 54.0% of respondents lacked access to health information. Only 42.8% of respondents have access to internet sources. Important barriers to access information were geographical, organizational, personal, economic, educational status and time. About 58.0% of the respondents accessed information by referring their hard copies and asking senior staff. Age, sex, income, computer literacy and access, patient size, work experience and working site were significantly associated with information needs and seeking behaviour.


The health information seeking behaviour of health professional was significant. The heaklth facilities had neither informationcenter such as library, nor internet facilities. Conducting training on managing health information, accessing computer and improving infrastructures are important interventions to facilitate evidence based descions.

Information; Information need; Information seeking behaviour; Information source