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Human-Centered Design Solutioning in Global Health

Client/ Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Location: Ethiopia and India
Catapult Service Line: Design
Thematic Area: Health & Nutrition, Maternal Health


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 20 million infants are born weighing less than 2.5kg annually, with over 96% of them born in developing countries. These low-birth-weight (LBW) infants are at increased risk of early growth retardation, infectious disease, developmental delay and death during infancy and childhood. Evidence has shown that Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is a safe and effective practice to reduce morbidity and mortality in LBW infants as well as increase breastfeeding. KMC involves prolonged skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant and exclusive breastfeeding.

In 2015, WHO received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to engage in-country partners to research, design, and develop models for increasing the uptake of KMC in Ethiopia and India. The primary program objective is to develop a delivery model that will result in a high (80% or more) and effective (at least eight hours of skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding) coverage of KMC for the target populations.


Catapult Design was awarded a grant from the B&MGF to join the program with the intent of infusing human centered design into local partners’ work.  The Catapult team is assessing current challenges and opportunities for KMC uptake based on what was shared during a convening in Ethiopia and also India as well as ongoing conversations with local program partners.


Over nine months, Catapult’s team of designers, behavior scientists, user-experience specialists, and evaluation experts will work hand-in-hand with local partners to co-design a set of scalable solutions for increased, effective practice of KMC.


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