Women who accessed information from Internet kiosks on prenatal and postnatal care via Internet kiosks are less likely to suffer infant mortality. The study took place in rural India where social obstructions keep women from seeking proper prenatal and postnatal care.
At the heart of the research is a religious and moral obligation to family and community that stops rural Indian women from receiving pregnancy care. When women were presented with proper pregnancy care through Internet kiosks, the infant mortality rate decreased from 68 deaths per 1,000 births to 50 deaths per 1,000 births over a five-year period.
The study involved 20 villages without access to proper pregnancy care. Ten of the villages received Internet kiosks with access to pregnancy care information. The other 10 villages received no such kiosk. While both villages noted marked declines in infant mortality rate, the villages with Internet access dropped much faster than villages without access to pregnancy care information.
At the start of the study, all villages averaged an infant mortality rate of 68.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births. After the first year, the connected village reduced infant mortality rates one point more than villages without access to Internet-based information. This sharp decline continued until the end of the study. By the 5th year, the difference between connected and disconnected villages was 8 points with disconnected villages reporting 57 infant deaths per 1,000 births.
Despite the reduction in infant mortality rates, women with strong connections to the community felt negative social repercussions because of seeking care. Women, who did not connect well with their social community, felt no such repercussions.
Source: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Viswanath Venkatesh, professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Tracy Sykes, assistant professor at the Australian National University. 25 February, 2011.