In January Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) Senior Social Scientist, Dr Busi Nkosi, and Director at Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, Gill Black, co-facilitated a body-maps workshop as part of a project exploring issues of privacy and confidentiality in mobile phone-connected apps for HIV self-screening.

‘Body mapping’ is a process of creating body-maps using drawing or painting. Participants draw outlines of their bodies and use their body parts to narrate their thoughts and feelings.

The project, titled ‘Body mapping: Exploring perspectives of privacy and confidentiality among young people and fieldworkers in the mAfrica study in a rural district in South Africa’ explored the use of mobile phone-connected HIV tests, that look to online prevention and medical care as a way of delivering alternative paths of population HIV testing, prevention and care in the uMkhanyakude district in KwaZulu-Natal. The study explored in greater depth how the participants understand issues of privacy and confidentiality when consenting in mhealth studies, compared to traditional approaches to data collection.

(Above: Body maps under construction at the workshop)

Two distinct workshops were conducted with fieldworkers involved in mobile-based studies as well as young people involved in the mAfrica study.

“One of the unique aspects of participatory visual work, like body mapping, is that the participants play an active role in making decisions about how to represent their experiences in a highly personalized manner,” said Dr Busi Nkosi.

Story and photos: Phumla Ngcobo