Shifting the dynamics: implementation of locally driven, mixed-methods modelling to inform schistosomiasis control and elimination activitie (2022)
Authors: Authors: Cristin A. Fergus, Bono Ozunga, Noah Okumu, Melissa Parker, Solomon Kamurari & Tim Allen. Published in BMJ Global Health.
After cycles of health interventions have failed to deliver promised reductions of schistosomiasis in Uganda, new research examines new ways of incorporating expert perspectives into the evidence needed for more effective health decision-making.
The researchers used a combination of participatory systems mapping and computational modelling to incorporate new voices into the understanding of disease transmission at national and subnational levels. The findings demonstrate that a wider range of perspectives in the policy, oversight and implementation of schistosomiasis control can create a sustainable reduction in disease transmission.
COVID-19 Riskscapes: Viral Risk Perceptions in the African Great Lakes (2022)
Authors: Elizabeth Storer, Kate Dawson & Cristin A. Fergus. Published in Medical Anthropology.
Drawing on fieldwork across Uganda and Malawi, the article explores how two mobile, trans-border figures – truck drivers and migrant traders – came to be understood as shifting, yet central loci of perceived viral risk. The paper argues that political decision-making processes, with specific reference to the influence of COVID-19 testing regimes and reported disease metrics, aggravated antecedent geographies of blame targeted at mobile “others”. We find that using grounded riskscapes to examine localised renditions of risk reveals otherwise neglected forms of discriminatory discourse and practice.
COVID-19 information dissemination in Uganda: Perspectives from sub-national health workers (2021)
Authors: Cristin A. Fergus, Elizabeth Storer, Moses Arinaitwe, Solomon Kamurari & Moses Adriko. Published in BMC Health Services Research.
Health workers at the sub-national level are often on the frontline of disseminating information about COVID-19 to communities. To ensure communities are receiving timely and accurate information, it is vital health workers are kept abreast of the most recent recommendations and guidance.
To understand how information and evidence about COVID-19 is engaged at the subnational level in Uganda, FLIA researchers conducted an electronic survey among health workers in the Ugandan health system. The research finds that understanding the sources of information used by health workers can support the transfer of timely information, which in turn increases the use of time- and place-specific information by the Ugandan population.
Opportunities and disconnects in the use of primary research on schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths for policy and practice: results from a survey of researchers (2021)
Authors: Cristin A. Fergus and Georgina Pearson. Published in the Journal of Public Health Policy.
Even with efforts to facilitate use of evidence in health policy and practice, limited attention has been paid to researchers’ perspectives on use of their research in informing public health policy and practice at local, national and global levels. This systematic literature search identifies published primary research related to schistosomiasis or soil-transmitted helminths and surveys corresponding authors.
Results indicate differences by locations of authors and in research conduct, especially for research conducted in low- and middle-income countries, as exemplified in research leadership discussed elsewhere. These findings highlight a need for additional efforts to address structural barriers and enable engagement between researchers and decision-makers.
Localising evidence for decision-making: participatory approach to inform schistosomiasis control
Authors: Cristin Fergus, Tim Allen, Melissa Parker, Georgina Pearson, Liz Storer & Kate Dawson. European Journal of Public Health (2020), 30.
The work aimed to develop localised evidence for decision-making for schistosomiasis control in Uganda, Malawi, and Tanzania. Workshops were conducted with practitioners from the Ministries of Health at various levels and partner organisations to identify evidence needs for their decision-making processes and perceptions of disease transmission and control activities. Participatory systems mapping was used to identify factors directly and indirectly related to transmission. The maps were synthesised to a master complex systems map, which served as the blueprint for a generalised spatial agent-based model and specific ABMs tailored to the evidence needs of decision-makers.
Participatory systems mapping for localised evidence and decision-making: helminth control
Authors: Georgina Pearson, Melissa Parker, Liz Storer, Tim Allen & Cristin Fergus. European Journal of Public Health, Volume 30, Issue Supplement 5. (2020).
This research follows workshops with district and national-level MoH personnel in Uganda and Malawi using PSM to elicit insights into local modes of schistosomiasis transmission and control, and group discussions on evidence needs and use in implementing control programmes. PSM maps are analysed, triangulated with thematic analysis of group discussion transcripts.
Participation, public health and politics: reflections on participatory mapping workshops on schistosomiasis transmission.
Authors: Georgina Pearson, Melissa Parker, Tim Allen & Cristin A. Fergus. Working paper (2021).
Uganda information and evidence rapid assessment survey report
Authors: Cristin A. Fergus & Elizabeth Storer, with support from Moses Adriko and Moses Arinaitwe.
This is a report for the Uganda Ministry of Health, reflecting a survey conducted between 3 December 2020 and 15 January 2021.
Cartoon: The breakdown in mass drug administration for bilharzia
As part of a series of six comics on public authority in different countries across Africa, Ugandan artist Dianah Bwengye has collaborated with researcher Gloria Kiconco to illustrate why mass drug administration in Uganda has failed to adequately control schistosomiasis (bilharzia) in many areas. The cartoon contextualises issues raised by district health officers and local communities on health control programmes, following a trip to Jinja, on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, and Pakwach in the Uganda’s northwest.
Diagram: The life cycle of the schistosome
Incorporated into the cartoon, researchers created a diagram to illustrate the life cycle of the schistosome, as a tool to disseminate contextually relevant knowledge about the transmission of schistosomiasis.