Supporting Wellness through Integrated Family Training (SWIFT) Study South Africa

About this project

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  South Africa
  January 2023 – December 2025
Principal Investigator Professor Catherine Ward and Cindee Bruyns (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Research Team Dr Jamie Lachman (University of Oxford and University of Cape Town),
Professor Lucie Cluver (University of Oxford and University of Cape Town),
Professor Frances Gardner (University of Oxford), and Carly Katzef (University of Cape Town)
Partners Department of Health, Western Cape Province of South Africa; Clowns Without Borders South Africa; UNICEF South Africa, Mikhulu Trust, Parent Centre, Department of the Premier, Western Cape province of South Africa.
Contact Email Cindee Bruyns or Carly Katzef


The SWIFT Study – Supporting Wellness through Integrated Family Training – aims to establish an optimal and cost-effective system of delivery of the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) human-digital parenting package within the health sector in South Africa. Benefactors will be any parents or caregivers above the age of 18 who show an interest in receiving parenting support.


Most (if not all) parents could benefit from some advice about parenting and keeping children safe; although some may need more intensive support. The GPI is offering parents an easily accessible, 5-day digital version of the PLH programme (ParentText). This digital platform will serve as an entry point to not only provide useful, low-touch parenting support, but also ensure relevant referrals are made when necessary to more intensive services.


There are therefore two main objectives of this study:

1. To design a system of parenting support that can be offered to all parents, ranging from the 5-day digital programme to in-person support where needed

2. To test this system in a pilot study in the Mitchells Plain and Witzenberg health districts.

Study Setting

This study will take place in six primary health care clinics in the public health system in the Western Cape, South Africa. Most parents will visit a health facility for their own healthcare, for well-baby checks, vaccinations, or for childhood illnesses at least once a year, which offers an ideal opportunity to reach parents and provide them with parenting support. The wide reach of the setting, the accessibility of the digital intervention, and the alignment with key government health priorities, including preventing child maltreatment and promoting child wellbeing, make this an ideal setting in which to attempt population-wide reach of parents.

Study Significance and Impact

This intervention has the potential to reach all parents everywhere. The results of our study will have applicability far beyond PLH: they will provide guidance to all other service systems that offer low-cost digital programmes with in-built referral triggers and pathways.