The new version of REACH4Health mobile application is now available

REACH aims to bridge the gap in health literacy and health care access among refugee and local youth in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

December 09, 2022

Refugees Act and Communicate Health (REACH) is a regional initiative of Columbia University, which aims to bridge the gap in health literacy and health care access among refugee and local youth in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan via digital health technologies. Supported by Columbia University’s President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) in 2019 and 2020, the International Cooperation and Development Fund of Taiwan (2019-2021), and UNFPA Türkiye (2022), the REACH Project addresses health care needs of youth affected by forced migration through innovative, youth-friendly, and widely used solutions.

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To develop a multilingual mobile application titled “REACH4Health” to promote young people’s health, the REACH Project has been working with youth, software developers, academia, health professionals, and local and international NGOs. The REACH4Health app is currently available in Turkey (in Turkish, English, Arabic) and in Lebanon (in English and Arabic). The app enables access to reliable information, guidance, and support on topics such as physical and mental health, healthy lifestyles, environmental health, healthcare systems, health-related rights, and insurance with links to international and local institutional websites. It helps users to find available health services and health-related institutions with geolocation, while also connecting them with a health mediator to find answers to their health-related inquiries and receive referral support for individual health-related concerns.

REACH4Health App has recently joined the World Health Organization's Digital Health Atlas and the DiGi YOUTH best practices database, an international platform to show best practices and resources related to digital youth work.

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The scientific assessment of the app’s impact on young people’s health literacy and access to health care in Turkey showed very promising results and the app users have also stated that it was easy to download and use the app. A user (female, 21) said, “The app is super easy to use. I loved the section on a healthy lifestyle. Nowadays none of us wants to read long texts and it’s really great that the app summarizes all information,” while another (male, 24) wrote, “REACH4Health is very good for young people. I can now access health information more easily.”

The app now aims to adapt its health mediator support to additional languages (Ukrainian and Persian as priorities) and expand its network of universities with youth ambassadors.

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, Columbia Global Centers | Amman, the Center for Sustainable Development of Columbia University, Istanbul University, Anadolu University, Bir IZ Association, Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG), and Youth Approaches to Health Association (SGYD) has been a part of the project’s implementation. The project team has hosted a number of events, the details of which are available here.

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