Community sensitisation using participatory arts-based methods for the research study 'Tupumue: Non-communicable lung disease in Kenya: from burden and early life determinants to participatory inter-disciplinary solutions.'

Cressida Bowyer, Louis Netter, Hellen Meme, Graham Devereux, Matthew Hahn, Cindy Gray

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Air pollution (AP) is a global health priority. The health burden of AP is greater in low-to-middle income countries, and exposure to AP in informal settlements is likely to be higher than in other areas, due to emissions from industry, dust, burning waste, and use of solid fuels for cooking, lighting and heating. Tupumue (‘let’s breathe’ in Kiswahili) is a research study comparing lung health, lived experience and AP exposure in children and young people aged 5-18 years from the informal settlement, Mukuru, Nairobi, Kenya and a neighbouring more affluent area, Buruburu. Community members were involved at all stages of Tupumue; it became clear during early consultations that a robust community sensitisation programme was vital to the study’s success. Academics, arts practitioners, residents and community artists co-created a suite of innovative, inclusive and culturally-relevant sensitisation activities.These were delivered by trusted Tupumue community champions in diverse settings, such as schools, churches and community meeting places. Sensitisation activities included games, a music video – ‘Pumua Fiti, Ishi Fiti’, theatre, and visual arts. A puppet show – Billy’s Day Out – dramatised the Tupumue data collection process to familiarise potential participants and minimise any fear or nervousness about taking part in the study. In addition, 10 murals were completed in Mukuru and Buruburu.  Methods ensured community buy-in, were effective across age and educational attainment and reinforced study aims in ways that connected to stakeholders lived experience. Community events included a Santa in the Ghetto festival and street parades in Mukuru and Buruburu. These ensured wide engagement, and local people were eager to participate. Community events reached 1000+, murals 10,000+, and in-school events 5000+. Evaluation interviews demonstrated attendees knew more about lung health and the Tupumue study after sensitisation, with most saying they would like to be research participants. Observations of school events suggested children were highly engaged, keen to ask questions, and motivated to learn. The sensitisation campaign was highly successful. It supported recruitment of 2403 children to the Tupumue study, 1296 from Mukuru and 1107 from Buruburu. The results will be fed back to communities using talks, documentary film and comic books.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2023
EventThe Global Health Network conference 2022: Enabling healthcare in every healthcare setting - University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 24 Nov 202225 Nov 2022


ConferenceThe Global Health Network conference 2022
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Internet address


  • air pollution
  • participatory
  • community
  • lung health

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