Project Summary

This study will pilot a family-focused, behavioral health intervention while developing and piloting innovative mHealth tools to support Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Sierra Leone’s Western region. This dual focus will help build urgently needed capacity both for delivery of evidence-based mental health services to reduce family violence, and for effective use of mHealth strategies to improve healthcare delivery and quality. This study will leverage government investments in community health initiatives and mHealth innovations as a strategy to address critical healthcare workforce limitations in Sierra Leone.

Approach & Goals

Aim 1

Apply a five-stage user-centered design approach to develop and test mHealth tools to improve training, supervision, and fidelity monitoring of CHWs.

Aim 2

Conduct a Randomized Controlled Pilot Study to assess feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of mHealth-supported delivery of FSI-ECD on parental mental health, emotion regulation, and family violence in high risk families with children aged 6–36 months (n=40) in comparison to control families (n=40) who receive standard care. Parental mental health, emotion regulation, household violence, and parenting practices will be assessed at baseline, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. The study will also integrate a cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the economic value of the mHealth-supported delivery of the FSI-ECD vs. standard care.

Aim 3

Leverage well-established relationships and government partners to strengthen capacity for mHealth research and quality healthcare delivery in Sierra Leone. Partners include the University of Makeni, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Principal Investigator

Insights

  • We are using best practices in user-centered design to engage community health workers and supervisors in an iterative development process to create a sense of shared ownership 
  • Applying a user-centered design approach will ensure that our mHealth tools have end-user acceptance, meet end-user needs, align with local technological capacity, and support sustained evidence-based practices. 
  • ommunity health workers and their supervisors will be able to view mHealth data on user-friendly visualization tools (e.g., dashboards), consult, and make decisions more quickly in response to data. 
  • Data visualization tools will help compile actionable data on parental mental health and family violence that can inform policy level decision-making in Sierra Leone.
  • This study will provide a foundation for expanding knowledge, fostering collaboration, and developing local research expertise in Sierra Leone.

Publications