Syrian refugees and digital health in Lebanon: opportunities for improving antenatal health

Reem Talhouk, Sandra Mesmer, Anja Thieme, Madeline Balaam, Patrick Olivier, Chaza Akik, Hala Ghattas

There are currently over 1.1 million Syrian refugees in need of healthcare services from an already overstretched Lebanese healthcare system. Access to antenatal care (ANC) services presents a particular challenge. We conducted focus groups with 59 refugees in rural Lebanon to identify contextual and cultural factors that can inform the design of digital technologies to support refugee ANC. Previously identified high utilisation of smartphones by the refugee population offers a particular opportunity for using digital technology to support access to ANC as well as health advocacy. Our findings revealed a number of considerations that should be taken into account in the design of refugee ANC technologies, including: refugee health beliefs and experiences, literacy levels, refugee perceptions of negative attitudes of healthcare providers, and hierarchal and familial structures.

Author: Open Lab

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