The Roles of Community Health Workers in Addressing Adolescent Maternal Mental Health in a Kenyan Refugee Camp


Project Information

Principal Investigator: Julie Tippens
Co-Principal Investigator:
Funding Agency: Layman Award
Award Date:
Theme: N/A
Project URL: N/A

For more information please contact Julie Tippens at jtippens@unl.edu.

Abstract

More than 26 million conflict-affected women and girls are of reproductive age. Pregnant and postpartum refugee adolescents in East Africa are at increased risk for poor maternal health outcomes due to early childbearing, exposure to trauma, fragmented social support, inadequate nutrition and health workforce shortages.

 

Despite health risks, there is evidence to improve maternal health and well-being in protracted refugee situations. This project explores the roles of community health workers in improving refugee adolescents’ maternal mental and physical health in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.

 

To answer this broader question, this study aims to: 

  • Document formal and informal resources for pregnant and postpartum refugee adolescents’ physical and mental health;
  • Identify pregnant and postpartum refugee adolescents’ socio-culturally meaningful perceptions of health;
  • Assess pregnant and postpartum adolescents’ barriers and facilitators to accessing physical and/or mental health services; and
  • Identify community health workers’ perceptions of maternal health, common referral networks (within both formal and informal health systems) and self-efficacy in addressing adolescents’ maternal health needs.

This project aims to compile evidence to help develop low-cost, scalable interventions to improve refugees’ psychosocial well-being. Given the scope of forced migration globally, this formative study may generate critical data to develop interventions that could be tailored and replicated whenever and wherever future humanitarian crises and protracted refugee situations arise.