Stepping stones method: A participatory research method to understand health care pathways for Female Genital Schistosomiasis in Nigeria

01 Jul 2020
Victoria O. Fapohunda, Josephine Adejobi, Helen Piotrowski, Tiff Dahmash, Kim Ozano, Rachael Thomson and Akinola Oluwole

This blog post was produced by the COUNTDOWN consortium, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Original posting at [insert blog post web address on our site]

What is Participatory Health Research?

Participatory health research (PHR) is a participant-led action research approach. It aims to develop relevant and targeted solutions to health challenges by focusing on collaborative and inclusive approaches with participants throughout the research cycle. PHR aims to challenge these power imbalances through the promotion of mutual knowledge exchange for the benefits of community participants and research partners.

This blog post provides researchers’ reflections on the use of Stepping Stones, a participatory research method applied with health professionals to understand how to strengthen local health systems to manage cases of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS).

The stepping stone activity is a co-learning process that encourages participants to think about their own knowledge and lived experiences in relation to the issue at hand. This approach enables participants to develop their own solutions which are specifically relevant to their contexts. Stepping stones has been widely used in the HIV/AIDS context in many African countries. It is a participatory approach that explores how health workers can work together to meet community health needs .We adapted this method to identify what steps need to be considered in order to strengthen health system’s management of women and girls living with FGS.

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Female Genital Schistosomiasis Research