MAK Researchers Warn against Complacency in Fight against COVID-19

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MAK researchers addressing in the media at Makerere University

Ugandans have been advised not to relax in the fight against COVID-19 citing the availability of the recently imported vaccines.

The call was made by researchers from Makerere University under the Research and Innovation Fund during the release of COVID-19 by  visualized communication materials.

The materials were produced under the Leveraging Civic Technology in the fight against COVID-19 project implemented by Dr Firminus Mugumya Kabuzaranwa of the Department of Social Work & Social Administration, School of Social Sciences, in partnership with Evidence And Methods Lab, a civic tech initiative which simplifies, visualizes and shares information.

“No one should dare think that COVID-19 has been weakened and totally dealt away with by the introduction of the vaccines; these vaccines are new and have just been imported and some are just on trial,” warned Michael Katagaya the Team Leader Evidence and Methods Lab.

MAK researchers addressing the media at Makerere University

Katagaya said that the imported vaccines are not enough to serve all Ugandans which leaves many at risk.

“With all that it is advised that we keep observing the set Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) some of which we have smilies in the visualized materials that we are releasing today,” Katagaya said

Dr. Mugumya said that at the outbreak of the pandemic in Uganda, a lot of information that came out about the virus was so technical and in English and a few Ugandans would understand it which was the reason behind the visualized materials.

Some of the visualized materials launched

“When COVID19 hit Uganda early last, it was a prologue for cutting- edge innovations to combat the pandemic. Uganda as a country needed to come up with generational Friendly Measures in managing the situation, this was through visual infographics that attracted a bigger portion of the population especially the young people in taking up the necessary action to deal with the situation,” Dr. Mugumya said.

Dr. Mugumya said that this project is premised on a theory of change that using Civic Technology provides better ways of generating and transmitting information that can quickly influence social behavior adjustment towards the fight against COVID-19.

The goal was to increase the level of citizen’s awareness and engagement in interactive discussions relating to recovery from the crisis and the project was successful in that regard.

Henry Kiragga a Co-founder of Evidence and Methods Lab noted that the project sought to bring information closer to people in ways and formats that they can easily relate with.

“The process involved acquiring information from reputable researchers and entities generating content relating to support and guidelines that influence the behaviour, attitude and the adaption by the general public as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kiragga said.