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To Promote Adoption of Household Health Technologies, Think Beyond Health

Publication Date: 
March 25, 2013

American Journal of Public Health 103(10): 1736-1740, 2013 (with Mark Thurber, Christina Warner, Lauren Platt, Alexander Slaski, and Rajesh Gupta)

Health risks from poor malaria control, unsafe water, and indoor air pollution are responsible for an important share of the global disease burden—and they can be addressed by efficacious household health technologies that have existed for decades. However, coverage rates of these products among populations at risk remain disappointingly low. We conducted a review of the medical and public health literatures and found that health considerations alone are rarely sufficient motivation for households to adopt and use these technologies. In light of these findings, we argue that health education and persuasion campaigns by themselves are unlikely to be adequate. Instead, health policymakers and professionals must understand what users value beyond health and possibly reengineer health technologies with these concerns in mind.