Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Computer Science

Abstract

Digital interventions to support maternal and child health (MCH) are widespread. Yet, the impact of these interventions in low-income communities is limited. We believe this is in part due to the top-down nature of digital health development, and propose to take a participatory and community-centred approach to this domain. We will form a multidisciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-geographical consortium of researchers, technology designers, healthcare professionals and community stakeholders, policy makers, and grassroots citizens' organizations to explore the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance maternal and child health and wellbeing during the antenatal and postnatal period in South Africa.

Planned Impact

The project aims to form a network with ambitious long-term goals that will advantage a variety of beneficiaries. Maternal and child health (MCH) is one of the foremost public health challenges in around the world and even more in South Africa. We will explore the potential impact afforded by information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance MCH in South Africa. We will engage in dissemination, knowledge exchange and impact activities to maximise impact across the identified beneficiaries including South African women, their families, healthcare workers and their communities, academic researchers, industry and policymakers in South Africa, as well as the industry within and beyond South Africa and society in general. We will harness existing social media outlets in the UK and South Africa to increase public awareness of the everyday challenges of MCH in South Africa. Overall, the named research team and collaborators have a strong history of public engagement and outreach so their skills and experience will facilitate impact activities within the network.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Challenge and Design Cards for communicating research challenges and support Co-Design Activities 
Description The Challenge and Design Cards aim to visualize community priorities based on fieldwork and outline a number of Stakeholders, Places, and Technology that are important to consider in the maternal and child health context in South Africa 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Community participants with low literacy became more aware of the existing challenges by the use of the challenge Cards and related to the design cards to support their ideation process 
 
Title CoMaCH Network Outcomes Poster 
Description This is a "graphic harvest" created by a professional illustrator to document the outcomes of the CoMaCH network, as reported during our final close-out workshop. It consists of test supported by line drawings with some color highlights. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact None yet. 
URL https://comach.melissadensmore.com/420-2/
 
Description HEALTH DECISION-MAKING OF PREGNANT WOMEN IN TECHIMAN, GHANA
Amount R10,119,494 (ZAR)
Organisation University of Cape Town 
Sector Academic/University
Country South Africa
Start 06/2021 
End 01/2022
 
Description OVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy studies in South Africa and India,
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leicester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 09/2021
 
Title Challenge and Design Cards for Digital Maternal and Child Health Co-design 
Description We got 10 Challenge Cards: - Traditional healers: The impact of traditional healers on MCH healthcare-seeking behaviors - Parent well-being: The importance of and lack thereof parental well-being in these communities - Affordable and accessible MCH information: The challenge of accessing relevant information in local languages despite data costs and literacy - Misinformation: The challenge of sifting through competing and conflicting information sources. - COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: Considering issues around vaccine uptake - Building parental skills in early life: Many parents felt like they did not have sufficient parenting skills, or were unaware of the importance of early childhood development - Health worker emotional support: Health worker empathy is a key problem in public healthcare; resulting in often hostile interactions - Personalized and timely support: Parents felt that support that was available during times of need was never appropriate for the immediate situation. - Postpartum care: The lack of and need for postpartum care in these communities - Involving Fathers: The absence of fathers and importance of increasing their involvement in MCH Then we got Ideation Cards including Technology Cards, Stakeholder Cards, Place Cards 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Facilitate the involvement, contextual understanding, brainstorming, and ideation during Co-Design workshops for participants with low literacy 
 
Description Partnership with the Human Science Research Council, South Africa 
Organisation Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Country South Africa 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We worked together on a EPSRC/GCRF research proposal for which Prof Alastair van Heerden is a co-investigator from the University of Limpopo. Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Nicola Mackintosh are also co-investigators in this proposal and Dr Naveen Bagalkot is an international project partner in this proposal to share the experiences from India in South Africa
Collaborator Contribution My partner at the Human Science Research Council, Prof Prof Alastair van Heerden brings expertise on information communication technologies for development (ICT4D) and their application on treatment and support of people living with HIV and AIDS as well as on early child development.
Impact Our project entitled "Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa" has been recently accepted for funding by the Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) call. The project will bring togeter multidisciplinary expertise between UK and South African researchers on global health and nutrition, ethnography, co-design and participatory methods, psychology of child feeding behaviours, media and health communication, feminist geography, gender, care and inequalities, co-developing and delivering transferal capacity-building activities, and diverse areas of computer science including social and mobile computing, and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, internet of things, Information and communication technologies for development, anthropological understanding of maternal care, nursing and health sciences, neonatal care, medicine in regards to non-communicable diseases, maternal and child care, and mental health, community-based interventions in South Africa, e-health and m-health, HIV interventions. Regarding the last question below, after the formal confirmation a formal agreement will be signed by all institutions.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences 
Organisation Loughborough University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We worked together on a research proposal for which I co-lead together with Prof. Paula Griffiths the second work package for the participatory design research
Collaborator Contribution My partners are experts in nutrition and population health with particular focus on developing countries. Prof. Paula Griffiths also acts as a mentor for follow up research activities
Impact Our project entitled "New strategies to reduce anaemia and risk of overweight and obesity through complementary feeding of infants and young children in Peru" was funded by the Newton Fund UK-Peru: Relationship between Food, Nutrition and Health Call. REF: MR/S024921/1. Include multiple disciplines from Nutrition and population health as well human-computer interaction and health informatics. Project proposal submitted to the Royal Society - under review - entitled: "EmpComICT: Empowering Communities with Information and Communications Strategies to Help Prevent and Treat Iron-Deficiency Anaemia in Pregnancy in India"
Start Year 2018
 
Description Partnership with the Sristhi Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India 
Organisation Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contributions ranging from writing project proposals to writing research papers in different areas of digital health
Collaborator Contribution Strong expertise in design in particular for adapting methods to low-income communities
Impact Research papers submitted to the India 2018 conference, ECSCW 2019 (under review), InfraHealth 2019 (Under review). Collaboration is multidisciplinary between design and human-computer interaction and health informatics. IndiaHCI 2018 paper - DOI: 10.1145/3297121.3297130 Project proposal submitted to the Royal Society - under review - entitled: "EmpComICT: Empowering Communities with Information and Communications Strategies to Help Prevent and Treat Iron-Deficiency Anaemia in Pregnancy in India"
Start Year 2018
 
Description Partnership with the University of Cape Town, South Africa 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We worked together on a EPSRC/GCRF research proposal for which I co-lead together with Dr. Melissa Densmore from Univesity of Cape Town. Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Nicola Mackintosh are also co-investigators in this proposal and Dr Naveen Bagalkot is an international project partner in this proposal to share the experiences from India in South Africa
Collaborator Contribution My partners at the University of Cape Town bring diverse expertise including human computer interaction for development (Dr Melissa Densmore), medical expertise with particular focus on the public sector in women's health (Prof Simone Honikman), medical expertise on neonatology, paediatrics and child health (Dr Yaseen Joolay), and anthropology in particular around the The First Thousand Days of Life (Prof Fiona Ross)
Impact Our project entitled "Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa" has been recently accepted for funding by the Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) call. The project will bring together multidisciplinary expertise between UK and South African researchers on global health and nutrition, ethnography, co-design and participatory methods, psychology of child feeding behaviours, media and health communication, feminist geography, gender, care and inequalities, co-developing and delivering transferal capacity-building activities, and diverse areas of computer science including social and mobile computing, and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, internet of things, Information and communication technologies for development, anthropological understanding of maternal care, nursing and health sciences, neonatal care, medicine in regards to non-communicable diseases, maternal and child care, and mental health, community-based interventions in South Africa, e-health and m-health, HIV interventions. Regarding the last question below, after the formal confirmation a formal agreement will be signed by all institutions.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with the University of Leicester, UK 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have collaborated in previous grant proposals, and papers aligned with this project
Collaborator Contribution Got colleagues from Social Sciences and Media and Communication bringing a different disciplinary perspectives.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration across human-computer interaction, digital health and my colleagues working in health sciences applied to health and media and communication at University of Leicester. 'DEPAC': Digital enablement, promise and uncertainty in maternity care https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/health-sciences/research/soc-sci/research-projects-1/2018depac2019-digital-enablement-promise-and-uncertainty-in-maternity-care Digitizing Reproduction: new technologies, intersectionality and the politics of inclusion https://www2.le.ac.uk/projects/digitizing-reproduction Papers: Verdezoto, N., Carpio-Arias, F., Carpio-Arias, V., Mackintosh, N., Eslambolchilar, P., Delgado, V., ... & Vásconez, G. (2020, October). Indigenous Women Managing Pregnancy Complications in Rural Ecuador: Barriers and Opportunities to Enhance Antenatal Care. In Proceedings of the 11th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Shaping Experiences, Shaping Society (pp. 1-9). Bagalkot, N., Verdezoto, N., Ghode, A., Purohit, S., Murthy, L., Mackintosh, N., & Griffiths, P. (2020, October). Beyond Health Literacy: Navigating Boundaries and Relationships During High-risk Pregnancies: Challenges and Opportunities for Digital Health in North-West India. In Proceedings of the 11th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Shaping Experiences, Shaping Society (pp. 1-15).
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with the University of Limpopo, South Africa 
Organisation University of Limpopo
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We worked together on a EPSRC/GCRF research proposal for which Prof Tebogo Mothiba is a co-investigator from the University of Limpopo. Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Nicola Mackintosh are also co-investigators in this proposal and Dr Naveen Bagalkot is an international project partner in this proposal to share the experiences from India in South Africa
Collaborator Contribution My partner at the University of Limpopo, Prof Tebogo Mothiba brings expertise on nursing management, healthcare delivery, health equity, healthcare education, promotion and management.
Impact Our project entitled "Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa" has been recently accepted for funding by the Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) call. The project will bring together multidisciplinary expertise between UK and South African researchers on global health and nutrition, ethnography, co-design and participatory methods, psychology of child feeding behaviours, media and health communication, feminist geography, gender, care and inequalities, co-developing and delivering transferal capacity-building activities, and diverse areas of computer science including social and mobile computing, and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, internet of things, Information and communication technologies for development, anthropological understanding of maternal care, nursing and health sciences, neonatal care, medicine in regards to non-communicable diseases, maternal and child care, and mental health, community-based interventions in South Africa, e-health and m-health, HIV interventions. Regarding the last question below, after the formal confirmation a formal agreement will be signed by all institutions.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with the University of Nottingham, UK 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We worked together on a EPSRC/GCRF research proposal for which Dr Mercedes Torres who is a co-investigator from the University of Nottingham. Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Nicola Mackintosh are also co-investigators in this proposal and Dr Naveen Bagalkot is an international project partner in this proposal to share the experiences from India in South Africa
Collaborator Contribution My partner at the University of Nottingham, Dr Mercedes Torres brings expertise on machine learning algorithms applied to gestational age estimation.
Impact Our project entitled "Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa" has been recently accepted for funding by the Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) call. The project will bring togeter multidisciplinary expertise between UK and South African researchers on global health and nutrition, ethnography, co-design and participatory methods, psychology of child feeding behaviours, media and health communication, feminist geography, gender, care and inequalities, co-developing and delivering transferal capacity-building activities, and diverse areas of computer science including social and mobile computing, and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, internet of things, Information and communication technologies for development, anthropological understanding of maternal care, nursing and health sciences, neonatal care, medicine in regards to non-communicable diseases, maternal and child care, and mental health, community-based interventions in South Africa, e-health and m-health, HIV interventions. Regarding the last question below, after the formal confirmation a formal agreement will be signed by all institutions.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa 
Organisation University of the Witwatersrand
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We worked together on a EPSRC/GCRF research proposal for which Prof Shane Norris from the University of the Witwatersrand is a co-investigator. Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Nicola Mackintosh are also co-investigators in this proposal and Dr Naveen Bagalkot is an international project partner in this proposal to share the experiences from India in South Africa
Collaborator Contribution My partner at the University of the Witwatersrand, Prof Shane Norris brings expertise on life course nutrition and epidemiology. Shane is the Director of the South African Medical Research Council's Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU), and Director of the South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Human Development (CoE-HUMAN). He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and President of the Africa Chapter of the International Society of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Impact Our project entitled "Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions to Enhance Maternal and Child Health in South Africa" has been recently accepted for funding by the Digital Innovation for Development in Africa (DIDA) call. The project will bring togeter multidisciplinary expertise between UK and South African researchers on global health and nutrition, ethnography, co-design and participatory methods, psychology of child feeding behaviours, media and health communication, feminist geography, gender, care and inequalities, co-developing and delivering transferal capacity-building activities, and diverse areas of computer science including social and mobile computing, and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, internet of things, Information and communication technologies for development, anthropological understanding of maternal care, nursing and health sciences, neonatal care, medicine in regards to non-communicable diseases, maternal and child care, and mental health, community-based interventions in South Africa, e-health and m-health, HIV interventions. Regarding the last question below, after the formal confirmation a formal agreement will be signed by all institutions.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Project Partner Digital Medic - Stanford Centre for Health Education 
Organisation Stanford University
Department Digital MEdIC, South Africa
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Through the CoMaCH network we have enabling Digital Medic to disseminate their projects and get in touch with the wider network of co-investigators and project partners
Collaborator Contribution Digital Medic is an active participant of the CoMaCH webinar series as well as participated in our CoMaCH workshops
Impact Webinar: Community Voices in Implementing Maternal and Child Health Interventions https://comach.melissadensmore.com/192-2/
Start Year 2020
 
Description Project Partner: Dimagi 
Organisation Dimagi
Department Dimagi South Africa
Country South Africa 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Through the CoMaCH network we have enabling Dimagi to disseminate their projects and get in touch with the wider network of co-investigators and project partners
Collaborator Contribution Dimagi is an active participant of the CoMaCH webinar series as well as participated in our CoMaCH workshops
Impact Webinar: Community Voices in Implementing Maternal and Child Health Interventions https://comach.melissadensmore.com/192-2/
Start Year 2020
 
Description Project Partner: Fraunhofer AICOS 
Organisation Fraunhofer Portugal Research
Department Center for Assistive Information and Communication Solutions (AICOS)
Country Portugal 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Through the CoMaCH network we have enabling Fraunhofer AICOS to disseminate their projects and get in touch with the wider network of co-investigators and project partners
Collaborator Contribution Fraunhofer AICOS is an active participant of the CoMaCH network and participated in our CoMaCH workshops and stakeholder's interviews
Impact https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445662
Start Year 2020
 
Description Project Partner: Jembi Health Systems 
Organisation Jembi Health Systems
Country South Africa 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Through the CoMaCH network we have enabling Jembi Health Systems to disseminate their projects and get in touch with the wider network of co-investigators and project partners
Collaborator Contribution Jembi is an active participant of the CoMaCH webinar series as well as participated in our CoMaCH workshops
Impact Webinar: Community Voices in Implementing Maternal and Child Health Interventions https://comach.melissadensmore.com/192-2/ Webinar: Digitization and the Road to Health Booklet https://comach.melissadensmore.com/webinar-digitization-and-the-road-to-health-booklet/
Start Year 2020
 
Description CoMaCH Webinars - 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact There is an incredible amount of innovation happening in the space of digital maternal and child health! The webinar series provide an opportunity to learn more from the experts about what is happening in South Africa and beyond in the area of community-based co-design of ICT interventions for maternal and child health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://comach.melissadensmore.com/webinars/