Mobile phones and social structures: an exploration of a closed user group in rural Ghana

Kaonga, Nadi; Labrique, Alain; Mechael, Patricia; Akosah, Eric; Ohemeng-Dapaah, Seth; Baah, Joseph; Kodie, Richmond; Kanter, Andrew S.; Levine, Orin

Background: In the Millennium Villages Project site of Bonsaaso, Ghana, the Health Team is using a mobile phone closed user group to place calls amongst one another at no cost. Methods: In order to determine the utilization and acceptability of the closed user group amongst users, social network analysis and qualitative methods were used. Key informants were identified and interviewed. The key informants also kept prospective call journals. Billing statements and de-identified call data from the closed user group were used to generate data for analyzing the social structure revealed by the network traffic. Results: The majority of communication within the closed user group was personal and not for professional purposes. The members of the CUG felt that the group improved their efficiency at work. Conclusions: The methods used present an interesting way to investigate the social structure surrounding communication via mobile phones. In addition, the benefits identified from the exploration of this closed user group make a case for supporting mobile phone closed user groups amongst professional groups.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Biomedical Informatics
BioMed Central
Published Here
September 9, 2014


mHealth, Social network analysis, Closed user group, Mobile phones, Health team