COVID mural by Wajukuu Arts

Developing resources to support the community in reducing COVID-19 transmission

ACT (Action against COVID transmission) Nairobi is led by Dr Cressida Bowyer, working alongside University colleagues Louis Netter, Matt Smith and Erika Hughes (CCI), and external collaborators including the University of Glasgow, the University of York, the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Mukuru Youth Initiative (MuYI) and Wajukuu Arts. The project is based in the informal settlement of Mukuru, Nairobi, Kenya.

The global population of urban poor living in informal settlements and slums is one billion (unstats.un.org). Informal settlements are densely populated and lack infrastructure for clean water, sanitation, and waste management. Health care systems are fragile and vulnerable to collapse. Mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as hand washing, social distancing and physical isolation can be difficult to implement and may not be the highest priority of the day.

ACT extends the work of the community-based participatory research projects AIR Network and Tupumue, involving the team of local lung health champions that we have been working with for three years. The overall aim of this project is to develop resources to support the community in reducing COVID-19 transmission. Public health messages in Mukuru are typically disseminated using a process known locally as sensitisation. In this context, sensitisation involves raising awareness around local health and wellbeing issues and disseminating public health messages using socially and culturally relevant media such as graffiti and music. Relevant, engaging and effective sensitisation campaigns are a critical factor in limiting the spread of COVID-19 (blogs.lse.ac.uk). Both MuYI and Wajukuu Arts are experienced in delivering public health messages.

ACT is about building capacity and sharing knowledge and practice between creatives in Kenya and the UK. We’re doing this via the delivery of a number of online workshops. Workshop themes include digital storytelling, cellphilming, comic creation, puppetry, music, citizen science and qualitative and quantitative data collection and evaluation methods. As we develop the sensitisation outputs we are consulting with relevant experts to ensure that the messages are grounded in science.

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