TUPUMUE, or “let’s breathe” in Swahili, is a partnership between Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and is jointly funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Kenya and the Medical Research Council (MRC) of the UK.
The project – which will last 3 years – aims to generate new scientific knowledge about the early life course origins, burden, determinants, and prognostic significance of non-communicable lung disease in Kenya by studying the lung health of children and adolescents from two very different communities.
The project will focus on children and young adults aged 5 to 18, the age at which lungs are developing and ill effects at this time of life can impact future health. It will work in two areas: an informal settlement (Mukuru) and a wealthier area (Buruburu). These two areas are geographically very close but very different in terms of their socioeconomic make up.
The study will also use participatory theatre to help explore community knowledge about what damages lungs, and the lived experience of air pollution and lung health. The results of the study will be fed back to the two communities, also via the medium of theatre, as well as other creative outlets such as comics and murals.
The objective of the UK-Kenya Joint Partnership on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) is to deliver research funding that will underpin progress towards achieving the objectives laid out in the Kenyan NCD strategy beyond 2020, and to enable the pursuit of shared research interests. The funders are also encouraging projects that incorporate elements of capacity building within them.