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Understanding the information culture for self-management support of people living with diabetes in Ghana

Eric Boamah (Information and Library Studies, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Lower Hutt, New Zealand)
Andrews Adjei Druye (School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Allied Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 6 May 2022

Issue publication date: 23 January 2023




The purpose of this study is to explore the information culture of people living with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and how that impacts their self-management practices in Ghana. The study focuses on the information experiences and information cultural patterns and creates awareness of the need for people to be aware of effective information management for sustainable self-management support.


An interpretive qualitative approach was used. A total of 12 interviewees involving 10 diabetes patients and 2 health professionals provided data for the study. Allowing the participants to freely talk about their attitude and behaviour, defining their experiences around information for their self-management was the best approach to achieve an in-depth understanding this study seeks.


The specific elements defining the information of people living with DM in Ghana can be identified. People living with the condition are willing to share information about their condition not only with those within their diabetic community but also with anyone interested. They prefer to use information from sources they find reliable and trust, and they have good information-related competencies that are consistent with diabetic patients in other countries’ contexts to help them identify, access, use and share relevant information. Only a few of the interviewees have difficulty in evaluating the accuracy and currency of some of the information. But they receive a lot of support from experienced people from their community. People also prefer to have information about the condition in their ethnic language. It is important for people living with the condition in Ghana to get involved in the diabetic groups, clubs and community, as members appear to receive the most benefit and support from the community to self-manage the condition alone.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited by the number of participants and the distances between the researchers and the research context. Also, even though two groups of participants were interviewed (diabetic patients and health professionals), the analysis did not separate the responses of the different groups of study participants. This paper provides a useful insight and understanding of the culture of people living with diabetes in Ghana in terms of how they access, use and share the information they need to support their self-management. It will create awareness of the importance of being mindful of information culture patterns in people in other groups in Ghana and beyond. The research processes and procedures described in the paper can be replicated by other researchers in other contexts.


Although there have been a lot of studies about diabetes and people living with the condition in Ghana, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study looking at how people define their need for information, how they identify the source of the information and how they access and use the information, including their general behavioural patterns that influence these information experiences.



Boamah, E. and Druye, A.A. (2023), "Understanding the information culture for self-management support of people living with diabetes in Ghana", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 3-22.



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