The interim report for COVID-19 response for African region has been published!

From the executive summary:

“This project addresses the critical role of effective and culturally appropriate risk communication, based on health literacy principles, community empowerment and capacity building in ensuring effective health protective and promoting behaviors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a community level in selected African countries. The project goal is to increase the capacity of African health systems for the nonmedical prevention of the spread of SARS-Cov-2 at the origin of the actual COVID-19 pandemic.[…]

South Africa and Kenya are rolling out activities focused on engaging with disadvantaged communities, including black townships and informal settlements, and have mobilized existing partners (Ministries of Health, Metropolitan Services, District Health Authorities, community-based organisations, individual experts) and networks within their countries. The other two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia, are undertaking pilot activities to strengthen the capacity of schools in addressing COVID-19 among the school population.”

 Learn more about has been accomplished so far:

Interim report | Project presentations


Launch of the Project COVID-19 Response for the African Region

IUHPE is pleased to announce the launch of its project on “COVID-19 Response for the African Region,” with the support of Vital Strategies.

IUHPE will be working with our members in the African region in developing a range of risk communication and community engagement strategies, based on health promotion principles, that will empower local communities in stopping the spread of the virus, while protecting people’s basic needs and promoting their physical and mental health.



This project will include four participating countries: Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Country Leads are: Dr. Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo (African Institute for Health and Development, Kenya), Professor Hans Onya (University of Limpopo, South Africa), Professor Davison Munodawafa (Midlands State University, Zimbabwe) and Professor Oliver Mweemba (School of Public Health, University of Zambia, Zambia).

All are well-established and experienced health promotion experts who have strong links with IUHPE and have committed to this project and mobilized existing partners (institutions, NGOs, individual experts) and networks within their countries.

This project has 4 objectives:

Objective 1: To engage local communities and key stakeholders in the COVID-19 response and empower them to reduce its spread.

Objective 2: To enable local communities to protect themselves, their families and communities by taking ffective behavioural action to stop the spread of the virus in their community.

Objective 3: To ensure that community level implementation is informed by best available knowledge, research and resources on effective risk communication and community engagement.

Objective 4: To create community coalitions to coordinate local responses adapted to the needs of local communities.

Central to this initiative is implementing effective risk communication and community engagement measures based on the following core actions:

South Africa and Kenya are ready to roll out activities and have mobilized existing partners (institutions, NGOs, individual experts) and networks within their countries. The other two countries (Zimbabwe and Zambia) will pilot activities in key areas as of August 2020.

In relation to South Africa, the project will initially concentrate in three out of five districts in Limpopo Province that have reported cases of COVID-19. This Province has a population of about 5.9 million people, predominantly ‘Black’ (97.1%) by ethnic classification. The disproportionate provision during apartheid of services to different “racial groups” led to inequalities in the health care system. This unfortunate situation continues to linger even at the present-day South Africa.

In Kenya, activities will be based in the Nairobi Metropolitan area which is the hardest hit by Covd-19 to date. This metropolitan area has a large population (about 10 million), of people living in informal settlements currently estimated at 3 million, who are considered to be the most at risk and in need. Efforts in the context of this project will fill a gap in the existing response, at the community level.

In Zimbabwe the project will initially focus on two Provinces, namely Matebeland North and Matebeland South.  These Provinces has both urban and rural populations and the following risk factors are present: districts with a major city or tourist attraction; districts with a Point of Entry or Border with another country from where screening of travellers is conducted; districts reporting cases of COVID-19 to date.

In Zambia, the selection and recruitment of local community networks will go forward as advised by the Ministry of Health, who has network of partners at the community level, and in conjunction with the Centre for Infectious Disease Research of the country. Efforts will complement existing measures while leaving room for innovation.

This project is part of the wider efforts of IUHPE and Vital Strategies in providing a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences at the global and local levels. Both organisations focus on engaging communities in tackling this crisis and reducing health inequities.

We invite you to read the messages on COVID-19 from IUHPE President Margaret M. Barry and Regional Vice-Presidents and to learn more about Vital Strategies and its support of the COVID-19 response.