Mhealth now, more than ever, need to be integrated with existing health systems to further contactless healthcare and health delivery solutions. Studies have reported that mHealth can ensure enhanced health outcomes, ample patient care and offer quality support for professional health workers. Several studies have examined the potential of mHealth from various stakeholder perspectives. However, a serious dearth of studies exists that examine the advantages and challenges of using this technology from mHealth users‘ perspective especially in the rural context. This study examines the use of mobile phones for health-related purposes from the perspective of rural people belonging to the South Indian state of Karnataka. The focus is on their use of mobile phone to seek medical assistance, health information and services. The study also seeks to understand the barriers and challenges faced by the rural folk in accessing health related services, information and assistance through mobile phones. A qualitative research approach using in-depth interviews as data collection tool, was applied. Mobile phones are reported as useful by the rural mobile phone users for receiving health-related messages as well as for accessing help during emergency health conditions. However, to enable equity of use of this technology in the rural scenario and also for government to use this technology for providing responses during public health emergencies such as COVID-19, challenges such as the existing mobile phone infrastructure, digital illiteracy and perceived health concerns of mobile phone use among rural folk need to be addressed.
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