BNSSG Healthier Together

Innovate Healthier Together Lunch and Learn Series: Anya


Update from the Innovate Healthier Together Programme.

On Tuesday 26 March, the Innovate Healthier Together programme hosted its second lunch and learn session which focused on how we can understand and tackle inequalities through innovation.  The session was introduced by Katie Donovan-Adekanmbi, Inclusion and Cohesion specialist from BCohCo who support individuals and organisations to learn about Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality.

Katie introduced Dr Chen Mao Davies, Founder of Anya, a parent support and breastfeeding digital application. Following the birth of her first child, Dr Chen experienced pain and lack of support when trying to breastfeed so developed the app to help parents to be confident and breastfeed successfully. The app provides 24/7 support and companionship throughout women’s health.

Dr Chen reported some health inequalities including:

  • Black mothers are 3.7 times more likely to die during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding rates are lower in babies born to parents in ethnic minorities, low-income groups and to parents under 25.

Emilie House, Client Success Manager at Anya presented the project they took on to tackle these inequalities. Resourced through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), they ran a 6-month project to explore ways to meet the needs of these minority groups by engaging with target users to find out their needs and challenges. They used Patient and Public Involvment (PPI) support networks including Facebook groups, NCT, acute trusts and latch aid networks, engaging with 169 parents and 29 health care professionals using surveys, focus groups and evaluation to gather feedback. The feedback they received was aligned with the following themes:

  • Improved antenatal support
  • Joined up antenatal and postnatal care
  • Importance of 24/7 support.

Responding to this feedback, they added antenatal support to the app and ensured this was tailored to the user and stage of their pregnancy or journey. They also tailored the images and animations to ensure this was suitable for different ethnicities and ages and added inclusive content to target women in these minority groups.

During the Q&A session, a question was raised regarding how the company address digital exclusion and those who may not be able to access or use digital technology. They acknowledged that this is a universal challenge when using digital technology but they would signpost users to local loan banks and libraries to support with this.

Watch back the recording of the March Lunch and Learn.

At our next lunch and learn on 24 April, Bath-based company Mayden will share the story of how they design and build insightful software that supports healthcare services to deliver data driven, outcome focused and patient centered care. Dr Philippa Kindon and Helen Barnes will share examples of how Mayden has successfully completed SBRI funded projects to develop digital innovations in care pathways and how they are used in community mental health services for children and young people.

Register to join the April 2024 Lunch and Learn