Kukaa Salama (Staying Safe): COVID-19 prevention practices with urban refugee and displaced adolescents in Uganda
This project will respond to the need for COVID-19 prevention among urban refugee youth who experience poverty, overcrowded living conditions, and poor sanitation that increase COVID-19 risks while limiting their ability to practice mitigation strategies such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing. It directly addresses social, policy, and public health responses and related indirect consequences among the priority population of refugees in countries with weaker health systems.
The project will develop and evaluate an mHealth (mobile) intervention with urban refugee youth and adolescents aged 16-24 in low-income contexts in Uganda. The goals are to increase population-level containment strategies (physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene); use tailored public health communication that accounts for gender, culture, context, and language; and emphasize citizen engagement with active, intentional dialogue between refugee youth, the Ministry of Health, academics, and refugee agencies.
The study comprises three phases: qualitative research to explore factors associated with uptake of COVID-19 mitigation practices; developing, implementing, and testing the Kukaa Salama intervention that integrates qualitative findings into behavioural change techniques; and knowledge mobilization, including a COVID-19 refugee policy analysis.
The project was selected for funding through the COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, coordinated by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with IDRC and several other health research funding agencies across Canada.