Using Human-Centered Design to Develop, Launch, and Evaluate a National Digital Health Platform to Improve Reproductive Health for Rwandan Youth

Nicole Ippoliti, Mireille Sekamana, Laura Baringer, Rebecca Hope
2021 Global Health: Science and Practice Journal  
A lack of access to evidence-based, unbiased, and youth-friendly family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) information and care limit young people's ability to prevent unplanned pregnancies and HIV and sexually transmitted infections. This threat-ens their health and is a significant cause of school drop-out, limiting young peoples' well-being, future potential, and employment opportunities. To address these challenges facing youth, YLabs used an end-to-end human-centered design (HCD)
more » ... oach to create CyberRwanda, a digital platform aiming to improve the health and livelihoods of adolescents (aged 12-19 years) in Rwanda. From 2016 to 2020, CyberRwanda was designed and piloted using an HCD approach in partnership with more than 1,000 youth, parents, teachers, and public and private health care providers. During the problem recognition phase, HCD revealed participants' beliefs, behavioral preferences, and experiences as they relate to FP/RH specifically and their broader life experiences, motivations, and challenges. Several phases of analog, digital, and live prototyping with youth and key stakeholders were used to codesign, test, and refine the intervention for implementation. CyberRwanda is a direct-to-consumer platform where adolescents can learn integrated, age-appropriate health, and skills-building information through edutainment behavior change stories and a robust frequently asked questions library, order health products online, and be linked to CyberRwanda's network of private and public health care providers who have been trained to provide adolescent-friendly care. The HCD process resulted in significant pivots to the design of the digital platform and the implementation model. Using HCD provided a structured methodology to combine technical FP/RH expertise and visual and product design expertise to codesign and iteratively develop a digital health intervention with and for Rwandan youth.
doi:10.9745/ghsp-d-21-00220 pmid:34845048 pmcid:PMC8628501 fatcat:qxpnte4zg5grrl7dhfxxxl36e4