The CoMaCH network and project recognizes that community members are rarely empowered to voice their own priorities and actively participate in the design of interventions intended to benefit them. We argue for a co-design approach, to radically include community members in the design of not only new approaches to digital MCH in the first 1000 days, but the design of research intended to innovate the new approaches. The aim is to establish new relationships and stimulate novel research and innovation. The network is funded by GCRF Digital Innovation for Development in Africa.
Good co-design entails working with and understanding all the stakeholders in the project
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 well-being during the antenatal and postnatal period in South Africa.
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.
For 2020-2021 our focus is to develop the network, understand current research and practice, and to work with community members to determine their priorities around maternal and child health and well-being, and to develop a community-centered approach to our research.