Community-driven citizen science approach to explore cardiovascular disease risk perception, and develop prevention advocacy strategies in sub-Saharan Africa: a programme protocol

Background In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which experiences a disproportionately high cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden, population-based screening and prevention measures are hampered by low levels of knowledge about CVD and associated risk factors, and inaccurate perceptions of severity of risk. Methods This protocol describes the planned processes for implementing community-driven participatory research, using a citizen science method to explore CVD risk perceptions and to develop community-specific advocacy and prevention strategies in the rural and urban SSA settings. Multi-disciplinary research teams in four selected African countries will engage with and train community members living in rural and urban communities as citizen scientists to facilitate conceptualization, co-designing of research, data gathering, and co-creation of knowledge that can lead to a shared agenda to support collaborative participation in community-engaged science. The emphasis is on robust community engagement, using mobile technology to support data gathering, participatory learning, and co-creation of knowledge and disease prevention advocacy. Discussion Contextual processes applied and lessons learned in specific settings will support redefining or disassembling boundaries in participatory science to foster effective implementation of sustainable prevention intervention programmes in Low- and Middle-income countries.