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Gamification and mHealth to improve maternal health in Lebanon

The Middle East and North Africa region is witnessing conflicts and protracted crises in many countries, including Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Iraq, that result in massive population displacement to neighbouring countries. Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita, with almost two million refugees.

This ongoing refugee crisis places the Lebanese healthcare system in a precarious situation. Insufficient infrastructure and lack of skilled health human resources has led to sub-optimal service delivery and limited access to care, especially in disadvantaged communities and low-resource settings. With more than half of the refugees being women, most of whom are of childbearing age, access to antenatal care services is a particular challenge. Despite the fact that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees covers most costs related to antenatal care, attendance remains remarkably low, with only 16% of pregnant women receiving the four recommended antenatal care visits.

This project investigates ways of improving maternal health outcomes and enhancing the uptake of antenatal care services among disadvantaged and refugee pregnant women in Lebanon by using innovative mHealth interventions, particularly mobile-based messages targeted to mothers; gamification techniques (applying elements and principles of games) to help improve the knowledge of health professionals working with refugee populations; and an approach to data that optimizes human rights and promotes participation, data disaggregation, self-identification, transparency, privacy, and accountability. The study further aims to evaluate the economic implications of implementing, and the feasibility of scaling up, these digital health solutions to improve equitable access to healthcare.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Chaitali Sinha
Total Funding
CA$ 668,300.00
Global Health
Maternal and Child Health
Global Health
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dr Shadi Saleh
American University of Beirut