Does Information and Communication Technology Add Value to Citizen-Led Accountability Initiatives in Health? Experiences from India and Guatemala
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) may facilitate the collection and dissemination of citizen-generated data to enhance governmental accountability for the fulfillment of the right to health. The aim of this multiple case study research was to distill considerations related to the implementation of ICT and health accountability projects, describe the added operational value of ICT tools (as compared to similar projects that do not use ICT), and make preliminary statements regarding government responsiveness to accountability demands through ICT projects. In all three projects, the need for relationship building, continuous community engagement and technical support, and training for volunteers or service users was identified. Government responsiveness to the data varied, suggesting that political will is lacking in certain contexts. Despite these challenges, ICT initiatives provided an easy, accessible, and low-risk platform for reporting violations and demanding accountability from service providers and decision-makers. ICT-enabled citizen generated data can add significant operational value and some political value to project activities and goals, and may affect systems change when it is part of a broad-based, multi-level civil societal and governmental effort to improve health care quality.