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Although digital health promotion (DHP) technologies for young people are increasingly available in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there has been insufficient research investigating whether existing ethical and policy frameworks are adequate to address the challenges and promote the technological opportunities in these settings. In an effort to fill this gap and as part of a larger research project, in November 2022, we conducted a workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, entitled 'Unlocking the Potential of Digital Health Promotion for Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries'. The workshop brought together 25 experts from the areas of digital health ethics, youth health and engagement, health policy and promotion and technology development, predominantly from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to explore their views on the ethics and governance and potential policy pathways of DHP for young people in LMICs. Using the World Café method, participants contributed their views on (i) the advantages and barriers associated with DHP for youth in LMICs, (ii) the availability and relevance of ethical and regulatory frameworks for DHP and (iii) the translation of ethical principles into policies and implementation practices required by these policies, within the context of SSA. Our thematic analysis of the ensuing discussion revealed a willingness to foster such technologies if they prove safe, do not exacerbate inequalities, put youth at the center and are subject to appropriate oversight. In addition, our work has led to the potential translation of fundamental ethical principles into the form of a policy roadmap for ethically aligned DHP for youth in SSA.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Promot Int

Publication Date





LMICs, adolescents health, digital health, ethics, policy roadmap, sub-Saharan Africa, young people, Humans, Adolescent, South Africa, Health Policy, Digital Health, Health Promotion