The REACH Project
In September, the Istanbul Center, in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at the Earth Institute, Mailman School of Public Health, Istanbul University and Birİz Association, will organize a stakeholder workshop in Istanbul to discuss current problems and solutions regarding health literacy and health care access issues among refugees, with a special focus on more vulnerable and disadvantaged groups such as young girls, sexual minorities, refugees living with a physical or mental disability.
About the Project
The REACH project aims to bridge the gap in health literacy and health care access among refugee youth living in Turkey by utilizing mobile health (mHealth) technology. REACH will employ the Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) framework, which has been recognized as a unique approach to conduct research with – rather than on – communities. Using CBPAR and implementation science methods, REACH hopes to contribute to the limited evidence base on ICT interventions for health in humanitarian crises. The first phase of the project, for which we are seeking funding from ICDF, will assess the acceptability and feasibility of using mHealth applications through a mixed-methods pilot study in Istanbul. REACH will then start working with youth, ICT professionals, local health authorities and NGOs to develop a mHealth application. At the end of the first phase of the project, the content and core functionalities of a mobile application will be defined and its user-interface will be designed for further development.
REACH ultimately aims to create an application to increase health literacy and improve health care access among young refugee and host communities, assess its effectiveness, work with stakeholder groups to disseminate the application more broadly in Turkey and the Region, and to contribute to the scientific literature on using health technologies for health promotion in humanitarian settings. The application will first be disseminated to the target populations (refugee and local youth) thanks to a network of trained health mediators (mobilizers), who will demonstrate the functionalities of the mHealth application, either directly during home visits or in health care settings. After impact assessment of the app in the field, it will be disseminated more widely at the national level via the support of different stakeholders, in addition to the project’s website, brochures and social media.