Myths and Misinformation: An Analysis of Text Messages Sent to a Sexual and Reproductive Health Q&A Service in Nigeria

Stud Fam Plann. 2016 Mar;47(1):39-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2016.00046.x. Epub 2016 Mar 8.


The almost 50 million young people aged 10-24 in Nigeria face many challenges to their sexual and reproductive health (SRH). MyQuestion is a platform that allows young people to ask SRH questions via text message. Trained counselors provide responses using a database of answers to frequently asked questions or customized replies. We analyze the content of more than 300,000 text messages received by the service since 2007 to address three questions: which health topics are most frequently submitted to the MyQuestion service; what kinds of questions are asked about these topics; and what language is used to convey the questions? We find a substantial unmet need for basic SRH information, with users' questions communicated in ways that convey considerable confusion, misinformation, and urgency. The analysis can be used to improve similar Q&A services and to improve the provision of SRH services for young people more generally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Reproductive Health
  • Reproductive Health Services*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Text Messaging*
  • Young Adult