Addressing social and emotional wellbeing is crucial to improve the lives of people living with chronic health conditions. Yet systems of care frequently focus only on the physical impacts of conditions.
Long-term health conditions are often highly stigmatised. This can mean that those living with them experience discrimination, hostility and shame in their communities and social lives, in addition to the condition itself. This has a major impact on a person’s quality of life.
This is not a side issue. Social isolation and stigma have severely detrimental impacts on health through:
Effective and sustainable sources of social support are needed to ensure that individuals are cared for as whole human beings, not just as patients.
The Zumbido Health Model uses mobile phones to create social support groups for vulnerable, socially isolated groups. It is a time-bounded social support program wherein participants are placed in support groups of 10-15 peers who share similar experiences. These support groups are enabled by our digital platform, where participants discuss - peer to peer, at any time via text message - a range of issues pertinent to their condition or needs. The model has three crucial ingredients:
It is the combination of accessibility, intimacy and anonymity that makes the Zumbido Health Model uniquely effective in addressing social isolation and stigma in vulnerable groups.
Our methodology is founded on three key principles:
We have worked with a range of populations in Guatemala, Mexico, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK.
The Zumbido Health Model has proven impact in:
Our participants have sent over 1 million text messages.
We are also developing a methodology for analysing our text message data called 160 Characters. This provides a unique perspective for understanding the mental health and wellbeing needs of vulnerable populations.
In implementing the Zumbido Health Model across contexts and populations, we have developed an expertise in participatory co-design for digital health interventions, particularly in the area of adolescent health.
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