Demand for Health Services

A human-centred field guide for investigation, understanding, and response

mother holding child

This field guide introduces human-centred design as an approach to addressing challenges related to community demand for basic health services like immunization.

Human-centred design is a problem-solving process that begins with understanding the human factors and context surrounding a challenge. It requires working directly with users — the people who use the service or operate the solution — to develop new ideas that are viable and appropriate in their context. Designing for people and their everyday interactions helps uncover and solve the right problems using local capacities and resources.

This Field Guide is focused on three specific things:

A research methodology that focuses on the needs of people, no expert has more knowledge than a caregiver, nurse, or a community health worker about how to solve their most pressing problems.

A design methodology that allows for innovative solutions and designing with — not for — the people we seek to serve.

An implementation strategy that uses a wide systems view that considers the constraints, opportunities and interactions of an existing ecosystem.

A Human-centred Approach


Process Overview

Problem Definition

Begin with a problem rather than a solution.

Critical Reflection

Simple techniques can be used to challenge biases we bring to situations.

User Research

Multi-method approaches mix observation with dialogue and participation.

Experimental Solutions

Generate ideas and test them with users.

Continuous Learning

Tweak and improve ideas over time.


Complete Manual

Download the 170 page Field Guide, including in-depth instruction, tools, and examples for every stage of the process. It also includes footnotes that reference the comprehensive research and scientific approaches the guide is grounded in.

Process Map

A visual overview of the five big questions to move through when investigating and responding to challenges involving users.


The 35-page workbook provides an summary of each step of the process and it’s associated tools. It relies on the use of Post-Its, encouraging your team to be iterative and nimble in your approach.

Digital Interventions Toolkit

Created in collaboration with the Global Innovation Centre, this toolkit follows the same process, with additional concentration on incorporating technology-focused considerations.