Social science research to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and usability of peer-to-peer motivational interviewing tool to improve vaccine conversations among Somali communities in Kenya


Background: The African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD) with support from the Task Force is planning to implement the peer-to-peer Motivational Interviewing (MI) program whose main objective is to assess the acceptability, feasibility and usability of the motivational interviewing tool in promoting vaccine confidence and uptake among Somali communities in Kenya. This project seeks to increase motivation to vaccinate by leveraging social influence. Researchers at Voices for Vaccines, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Sydney, and University de Sherbrooke teams have developed an intervention to improve vaccine confidence, motivation and uptake among individuals of Somali communities by teaching peers how to be advocates of vaccination through peer-to-peer guidance. This implementation research will be conducted in Nairobi and Garissa Counties using a mixed methods design to: i) assess learner’s knowledge, awareness, and understanding of COVID-19 vaccines and other routine immunizations, as well as how peers discuss vaccination with peers; ii) determine the acceptability, feasibility, and usability of the MI peer-to-peer communication tool. Insights and lessons learnt from this study will inform subsequently future implementation and assessment of the evidence-based P2P training tool in other contexts. Moreover, it will help in formulation of strategies and plans to increase vaccine confidence.

Position Description: The purpose of this position is to serve as a temporary translator for the study tools. The overall duty of the translator will be to translate the tools from English to Somali language.

The tools include:

  • Key informant interview guide
  • Focus group discussion guide
  • Pre-test questionnaire
  • Post- test questionnaire
  • Consent form

Requirements: The candidature for this position is expected to have the following qualifications:

  • At least first degree in Social Sciences from a recognized university;
  • Fluent in English and Somali languages;
  • Vast experience in translation of data collection tools/documents into Somali language;
  • Excellent organizational skills; and
  • Good verbal and written communication skills.

How to apply: Interested candidates are invited to submit their application letter and CV with contacts of three referees via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and cc. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. deadline 27/04/2022 by 5pm.


International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Membership

The African Region is recruiting institutions and individual members to join the IUHPE in order to strengthen regional representation on this global network.

The IUHPE is an umbrella organisation for health promotion professionals globally, partnering with countries to implement interventions to advance public health through health promotion and health education. IUHPE members carry out activities which are consistent with the mission, goals, objectives and purpose of IUHPE. The two main membership categories are:

  1. Institutional membership: International, regional, national and local organisations, academic institutions, national health promotion and public health agencies.
  2. Individual Members: Students, individuals, retired and honorary members.

Join and signup using the following link:

For enquiries please contact the following:

Africa Regional Vice-President: Dr. Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Coordination office: Metrine Kwamboka: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Member benefits

IUHPE members may benefit in many ways, including:

  • Global networking between people and organizations with exchange of ideas, information and experiences;
  • Ability to influence health promotion thinking internationally by voting in the IUHPE Assembly;
  • Ability to join one of the IUHPE's global working groups, networks and interest groups to facilitate the development of relevant collaborative projects at global and regional levels;
  • Facilitate and/or participate in the IUHPE consultancy services and General Assembly;
  • Reduced registration fees to IUHPE World, Regional and co-sponsored conferences;
  • Free access to the IUHPE Global and regional Health Promotion journals and newsletters;
  • Receive discounted subscription rates to five other journals in the IUHPE Family of Journals;
  • Discounts on Accreditation System administration and registration fees; 
  • Accessing the "member only" sections on IUHPE website;
  • Participating in key IUHPE health promotion activities/projects in your region of the world; and
  • Stimulating your professional life through invigorating contact with like-minded health promoters throughout the world.

The Non-Communicable Diseases Quality Management (NCDQM) Project aimed at strengthening the healthcare system through improved capacity in management of selected NCDs within four sub-counties of Nairobi County. The settlements included Ruaraka, Westlands, Embaksi East and Embakasi West. During implementation of the NCDQM project, the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD) worked closely with the Nairobi City County Health Department-NCD Unit, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Malteser International (MI) and IntelliSOFT Consulting.

The project used innovative technology to build the capacity of healthcare workers to adhere to clinical guidelines in the management of hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus (DM).  Implementing partners developed and facilitated the adoption and domestication of Electronic medical records (EMRs) system in health facilities within the four implementing sites. Notably, the system provided a platform to easily digitize medical data leading to improved NCD health information in 45 selected health facilities. The AIHD team conducted data quality assessment (DQA) to collect data on the two NCDs and assess the quality of data collected in the health facilities.

Apart from the system, the AIHD equipped the health facilities with equipment, lab reagents and other lab consumables. Moreover, healthcare workers and community health volunteers (CHVs) were sensitized on the NCDs, particularly, hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus (DM) both in the health facilities and at the community level.

Non-Communicable Diseases Nairobi County CIP launch


Protecting the Living while Honoring and Dignifying the Dead By Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo

Since the emergency of COVID-19, Kenyans have been confronted with a lot of guidance from the Government on how to limit exposure to the virus. Kenyans have attempted to adhere to these guidelines but a simmering conflict related to the way we honour and bury the dead seems to have followed the recommendations issued to guide the way people mourn and bury their loved ones.

There is a conflict of culture versus safety. Cultural and communal considerations on the one hand and the changed times occasioned by the pandemic. The discourse now is how can we honour and dignify the dead and still observe safety?
There have also been elaborate directives issued on burials like the body must be buried by the family as soon as possible (within 48 hours) and under the supervision of healthcare personnel, the local healthcare committee leader and religious leader; once the body has been delivered to the mortuary (if the person died at home), the casket must be cleaned and disinfected using the standard procedures; the body should not be reopened for viewing once it is put into the casket; and the family members should ensure they coordinate transportation of the body with the local health officials, among other things.

The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines put emphasis on family involvement but this has not been the case in some instances in the country. In some cases, family members have not been allowed to participate in the burial arrangements which has led to disquiet and, in recent times, revolt by communities. The burial process is often rushed with security forces ensuring completion of the ceremony in the shortest time possible. In one case in Bomet, the widow lamented that she, and her children, were not allowed to be part of the ceremony.
In many African communities, the concepts of "life" and "death" are not mutually exclusive, and there are no clear dividing lines between them. When the Siaya man was buried in the middle of the night (in May 2020), there was an outcry of ‘you cannot throw our son away like a dog’ that resonated across the country.

In the past two days, there has been a clip doing rounds on social media of a community in Migori that chased the public health officers, opened the casket and body bags and properly mourned their son before he was buried. There was also a story of a Luhya man whose body was exhumed to allow the community to give him a proper burial. The elders indicated that the body needed to face the right direction and they had to remove the shoes, tie, belt, etc. because he was not supposed to have been buried in these items. The elders noted that unless they re-buried the body, the dead would come back to haunt his family.

It is notable that death does not alter or end the life or the personality of an individual, it only causes a change in its conditions. This is expressed in the concept of ancestors, people who have died but who continue to live in the community and communicate with their families. Hence, the manner in which burials are conducted continues to be a contentious issue in the country. I have participated in several conversations on COVID-19 stigma and several people have asked ‘if a corpse is infectious.’
In one such discussion Dr. Johanssen Oduor, the Government Pathologist, clarified that although the body is normally sanitized and double bagged, what the government directives intend to do is to limit crowding around the body and touching the casket which could lead to the spread of the virus if any of the mourners is infected. The scenario in Migori, where mourners touched the deceased after opening the body bags and surrounded the casket, was such that if any of them was infected, the exposure to the others would have been high due to free mingling and exchange of fluids, including tears.

Mourn for the Dead while Celebrating Life

It is notable that burial ceremonies allow communities to mourn for the dead while celebrating life in all aspects. Funerals provide opportunities for communities to be in solidarity and regain identity. In some communities this may include dancing and merriment for all but the immediate family, thus limiting or even denying the destructive powers of death and providing the deceased with "light feet" for the journey to the other world (see Allan Anderson). Last month, I asked my mum not to attend a burial in the community and she informed me in very clear terms: “this woman has stood with me over the years. She was here when I lost my daughters. She cannot be buried while I am at home. I will remember to carry my mask (this may have been added to appease me)”.

Although churches have tried to eliminate the old practice of sending off the dead to the ancestral world, they have done so without neglecting the traditional conception of ensuring harmony with the ancestors. However, since a funeral is usually a community affair in which the church is but one of many players, the church does not always determine the form of the event. Some of the indigenous rites have indeed been transformed and given Christian meanings, to which both Christians and those with traditional orientation can relate.
There is fear that if the correct funeral rites are not observed, the deceased may come back to haunt the living. There are however exceptions including wizards, murderers, thieves, those who have broken community codes or taboos, or those who have had an unnatural death (e.g. committed suicide). The burials of such people are not celebrated and in many communities they are either buried at night and/or rituals performed to ensure that they do not leave any of their bad omen behind. Hence the question: why did they bury him at night like a thief!
Funeral celebrations are meant to comfort, encourage, and heal the bereaved. Thereafter, the communities and churches see to it that the bereaved make the transition back to normal life as smoothly and as quickly as possible. This transition during the mourning period is sometimes accompanied by cleansing rituals by which the bereaved are assured of their acceptance and protection by God. The requirements for quick burials and no celebrations are leaving many families at a crossroad, with many unresolved questions and mental anguish.

How can we honour and dignify the dead?

In view of these cultural and communal considerations and the changed times occasioned by the pandemic, how can we honour and dignify the dead and still observe safety?
It is important to ensure deeper engagement and involvement of communities in behavior change – communities are adaptable but they can only do this from a point of information and understanding.
Utilize faith-based alliances for building community trust – people trust their religious leaders and they should be central to planning, interment and follow-up of the bereaved families post-burial.
Include both Christian/Muslim and cultural rites in the processes – this is key since for most communities there is a blend between Christian/Islam and cultural rites that should be understood and respected.

Ensure effective capacity building of health personnel, such as burial workers. Training is critical not only for their personal protection but also for the safety of communities. Include women and youth in burial teams.
Protect burial teams including public health officials. The recent incidents of public health officers being chased away from burial homes is a risk to them and their loved ones.

Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo is the Founding Director of and Technical Adviser to the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD). Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


PATH Kenya contracted the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD) to implement the advocacy and mobilisation component of the project, Integrated Mother and Baby Friendly Initiative Plus (MBFI+) targeting vulnerable neonates in Kenya. The overarching goal of the project was to contribute to a reduction in maternal and newborn mortality. In Kenya, the project focused on establishing a Human Milk Bank (HMB) in Pumwani Maternity Hospital (PMH).

The advocacy and mobilisation component was based in Pumwani health facility and the community around it. The component focused on promoting uptake of HMB by healthcare workers in Pumwani maternity Hospital and community health volunteers (CHVs) and the community in Kamukunji sub county.


The advocacy and mobilizing component is aimed at creating awareness on the significance of HMB and mobilizing potential donors in Pumwani area to voluntarily donate breast milk to the HMB at Pumwani Maternity Hospital, Nairobi.  The specific objectives of the component included:

  1. To create awareness on human milk banking (HMB) among healthcare providers (medical and non- medical staff) and community members;
  2. To strengthen capacity on HMB of healthcare workers medical and non-medical staff in Pumwani health facility;
  3. To sensitize gestating and lactating mothers on the uptake of HMB in Pumwani health facility; and
  4. To engage external stakeholders at the county level on HMB.



  1. The AIHD team held separate project information sharing meetings with healthcare workers in Pumwani health facility and CHVs in Kamukunji sub County.
  2. The project team held a workshop with local leaders in Kamukunji sub-county to sensitize them on HMB.
  3. The team held public barazas with community members in Kamukunji sub County to sensitize them on HMB.
  4. Distribution of information, education and communication (E.C) materials on HMB.
  5. The AIHD team supported continuous medical education (CMEs) focusing on HMB in Pumwani health facility.
  6. The team conducted health talks and sensitization meetings with gestating and lactating mothers at Pumwani health facility.
  7. The AIHD team attended and participated in project-related meetings/forums organized by partners (PATH and APHRC) on HMB.
  8. The AIHD project team strengthened support groups for lactating mothers to be used as champions for change to demystify myths and misconceptions on HMB.


2.2 Thematic Areas for Advocacy and Mobilisation

The advocacy and mobilisation engagements were guided by the following themes:

  1. Background information on HMB;
  2. The importance of breast milk and donated human milk alternative for vulnerable neonates;
  3. Safety and quality assurance and control measures of the donor human milk (DHM)(screening, handling, storage, pasteurization and allocation);
  4. Lactation support, breast milk expression, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, maternal nutrition and hand hygiene; and
  5. Debunking the myths and misconceptions of donor human milk.




  1. 1.A total of one hundred and thirty-eight (138) PMH staff both medical and non-medical were sensitized on HMB in a series of meetings at PMH and nearby hotels (Grand Royal and Nomad Place Hotel). Moreover, a total of
  2. 2.Two thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight (2328) community members from Eastleigh North, Eastleigh South, Muthurwa/ ShauriMoyo and Pumwani wards were sensitized on HMB project.
  3. 3.The AIHD project team supported a total of four (4) CMEs to sensitize PMH staff. Through these CMEs, eighty-three (83) PMH staff were sensitized on HMB.
  4. 4.Two sensitization meetings were held with support groups for lactating mothers. A total of one hundred and twenty-five (125) mothers were sensitized.
  5. 5.The AIHD project team sensitized a total of four hundred and twenty-one (421) mothers, gestating and lactating, through a series of meetings in PMH and Pumwani catchment area.
  6. Two meetings were conducted with community leaders (opinion leaders, religious leaders, youth leaders and heads of CHVs). A total of sixty-two (62) leaders were sensitized in Kamukunji, Starehe and Makadara sub Counties.
  7. 7.The AIHD project team attended a total of sixteen (16) meetings organized by partners on HMB.
  8. 8.Distribution of HMB I.E.C materials was done in meetings held with local leaders, mothers, CHVs and community members in Pumwani catchment area and PMH staff.